Policies and Procedures - Section B: Policies

  • Policies and Procedures Image


These are the contents of Section B: Policies.

  • Admissions
    • Recruitment
    • Non-Discrimination Clause
    • Inquiries
    • Applications
    • Admissions Targets and Ceilings
    • Application Deadlines
    • Application Requirements
    • International Applicants
    • Post-Baccalaureate Studies Applicants
    • Joint Degree Programs at BYU
    • Decision Process
    • Additional Actions on Applications
    • Applicants Previously Suspended from BYU
    • Applicants Awaiting a Clearance
    • Application to Resume Graduate Study
    • Graduate Student Missionary Deferral
    • Full Disclosure and Confidentiality
  • Financial Assistance
    • Graduate Funding
    • HIDRA
    • Graduate Mentoring Awards
    • The Graduate Research Fellowship Award
    • Research Presentation Awards
    • Student Loans
    • On-Campus Employment
  • Matriculation
    • Advisement and Student Handbooks
    • Graduate Committees
    • Program of Study
    • Progress Reports
    • Evaluations of Student Progress
    • Leave of Absence
    • Credit Policies
    • Degree Requirements
    • Changing Degree Levels
    • Integrated Programs
    • Joint Degree Programs
    • Concurrent Programs
    • Interdisciplinary Graduate Study
    • Registration
    • Graduate Studies Tuition Requirement
    • Academic Standards
    • Petition for Exception
  • Electronic Signatures
  • Graduation
    • Information Relevant to All Graduating Students
    • Information Relevant to Graduating Students in Dissertation or Thesis Programs
    • Minimum Standards for Submitting Dissertations and Theses (ADV Form 11)
    • Termination of Graduate Status
    • Withdrawal
    • Discontinuance
    • Policy on Granting Graduate Degrees Posthumously
  • Program and Curricular Review
    • Graduate Program Reviews and Graduate Curriculum Information
    • Requesting Curriculum and Program Changes
  • Graduate Academic Grievance Policy
  • Records Management and Retention





Departments are responsible for graduate student recruitment. Each department is expected to have an active recruitment program to attract excellent students from undergraduate and graduate programs at other universities. Departments should not rely solely on an applicant pool of their own undergraduates, but should aim to have a student cohort in which half of the master’s students or two-thirds of the doctoral students have earned undergraduate degrees from a university other than BYU.

Graduate Studies coordinates the Graduate Studies Recruiting Council and invites all interested parties to attend. These meetings are typically held each month throughout the fall and early winter semesters. Graduate Studies also annually advertises the graduate programs through the CES Institutes of Religion. Departments may not directly contact Institutes of Religion in recruiting efforts.


Non-Discrimination Statement

"The Mission of Brigham Young University – founded, supported, and guided by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints – is to assist individuals in their quest for perfection and eternal life. That assistance should provide a period of intensive learning in a stimulating setting where a commitment to excellence is expected and the full realization of human potential is pursued.

To this end, the University seeks qualified students of various talents and backgrounds, including geographic, educational, cultural, ethnic, and racial, who relate together in such a manner that they are “no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints, and of the household of God.” It is the University’s judgment that providing educational opportunities for a mix of students who share values based on the gospel of Jesus Christ and come from a variety of backgrounds and experiences is an important educational asset to BYU."  https://multicultural.byu.edu/node/whatwedo

Graduate Departments should employ recruitment strategies which create a diverse pool of applicants who meet departmental and university academic qualifications.  Admission decisions should be based on academic merit only.



Online inquiries regarding graduate studies are handled jointly by Graduate Studies and individual departments. Prospective applicants may navigate to the Graduate Studies website and under the Admissions Tab click the Register Your Interest link to complete an online form. Each inquiry is acknowledged through email. All departments should configure a series of automatic emails that will be sent by Hobson’s Connect to prospective students who request information about the department’s programs from Graduate Studies. Departments may also contact Graduate Studies for assistance in setting up automatic emails or with other Hobson’s Connect training.


Applications (Updated January 2016)

Honor Code Standing: Applicants should have a current ecclesiastical endorsement to be admitted to BYU, and they must continue to abide by the Honor Code, including the Dress and Grooming Standards, whether on or off campus after admission. Unless granted an exception, an applicant who is currently excommunicated, disfellowshipped, or disaffiliated from the Church is not admissible until reinstated to full fellowship in the Church. Also, unless granted an exception, an applicant who is on probation with the Church or who otherwise lacks an ecclesiastical endorsement is not admissible until the issue giving rise to the probation or lack of ecclesiastical endorsement is resolved with the applicant¹s authorized ecclesiastical leader. The university ultimately reserves the right to make the admission decision. See the university¹s Admission Policy.

All applicants should apply online through the Graduate Studies website. The J. Reuben Clark Law School uses a separate application.

Graduate Studies uses Campus Management, an Internet vendor, for online applications. At the Graduate Studies website, applicants click Apply Online and are taken to the online application. Each applicant is required to set up an account by providing his or her name, email address, birth date, postal code, gender, intended program, entry term, and a password. Upon creating the username and password, applicants may fill out the application at their leisure and edit it as many times as necessary until submitted.


Admissions Targets and Ceilings

Each program has identified a target number of graduate students for whom the department has the resources to offer a graduate experience of rigor and quality. BYU has assigned each program an admission ceiling related to this target number. 

If the target number of graduate students for a particular program needs to be increased, a meeting should be arranged to include the department graduate coordinator, the department chair, the college dean, and the Dean of Graduate Studies. Department representatives need to be able to demonstrate that resources are adequate to support additional graduate students and that a larger graduate program in the area would enhance the mission of the department and the university. 


Application Deadlines

There are three different types of application deadlines in the admissions process: (1) department application deadlines, (2) university application deadlines, and (3) university decision deadlines.

Department Application Deadlines

Each department is encouraged to establish its own application deadlines for each semester and term of entry, but the selected deadlines should conform to national best practices in graduate admissions. The following deadlines are suggested: February 1, Fall Semester; September 15, Winter Semester; January 15, Spring Term; and February 15, Summer Term.

Department application deadlines may not extend beyond university application deadlines (see chart below). In addition, departments are urged to restrict entry semesters to one, or at most two, to increase the likelihood of selecting a strong class of graduate students. Application deadlines need to provide enough time to correspond with applicants to clarify admission requirements, evaluate transcripts, prepare and send visa clearance documents to international applicants, and allow those in international countries sufficient time to obtain a visa. Deadlines should be early enough to allow time for application materials to be collected and processed, for the department to give full and fair consideration, for response to be timely, and for the student to accept (or decline) an offer of admission.

Departments should submit application deadline changes to Graduate Studies early enough for deadlines to be listed accurately in the Graduate Application and Catalog. The Graduate Admission Administrator sends out requests for annual admission updates each March. Departments requesting changes to deadlines and program names after the admission update deadline will incur a $500 processing fee.

University Application Deadlines

The university application deadlines represent the date beyond which departments may not set department application deadlines. All applications received after university application deadlines are marked late. In order for an application received after this deadline to be considered, the department must petition Graduate Studies.

Fall May 15
Winter September 15
Spring February 15
Summer March 15

University Decision Deadlines

Departments may enter admissions decisions until the university decision deadline has passed. To enter a decision on an application marked late, departments will need to contact Graduate Studies. A petition is required to consider an application received after the university application deadline.

Fall June 15
Winter October 15
Spring March 15
Summer April 15


Application Requirements

An applicant seeking admission to a program leading to a doctoral or master’s degree must meet university and departmental requirements as outlined in the Guide for Applying to Graduate Study and the Graduate Catalog. Prospective students may consult with individual departments for specific requirements. Admission to graduate study is highly selective and is granted to a specific program for a specific semester or term. As a minimum, applicants who wish to be considered for admission must complete the following steps:

  1. Submit a complete online application before the application deadline. An application is considered complete upon receipt of the online application with fee paid, uploaded PDFs of unofficial transcripts from each school attended, and a completed ecclesiastical endorsement. Students applying concurrently to more than one program must complete a separate online application for each program and pay a separate fee for each application, but they need submit only one Ecclesiastical Endorsement. Applicants should use endorse.byu.edu to request an endorsement.
  2. Receive a four-year baccalaureate degree or equivalent from a regionally accredited U.S. or international university accredited by the International Association of Universities before the expected semester of entry.
  3. Applicants must report their cumulative GPA for their undergraduate degree or record. This should include transfer coursework applied towards the undergraduate degree.  Applicants must have a minimum 3.0 GPA on a 4.0 scale (a scholastic average of “B” for international degrees).The minimum GPA for an international undergraduate degree will be derived from the overall scholastic average of all of the courses counted towards the bachelor’s degree. All international credentials will be evaluated using the credential evaluation agency approved by Graduate Studies. The agency will verify the authenticity of the documents; provide a U.S. degree equivalency, and a course-by-course report. Only coursework for the bachelor’s degree will be used in calculating a GPA. International applicants should report the IERF calculated GPA.
  4. All credentials uploaded to the online application are considered unofficial. If you are recommended for admission, you will then be asked to submit OFFICIAL transcripts. U.S. transcripts must be sent directly from the educational institution in a sealed envelope, with a certification stamp across the seal to Graduate Studies. For U.S. applicants, Graduate Studies must receive an official transcript showing that the degree has been conferred. Applicants who have earned or are earning their bachelor’s degree from BYU (Provo), do not need to send official transcripts, if BYU was the last school they attended.
  5. Credential Evaluation Report. Applicants whose degree is awarded outside of the United States should send all transcripts, mark sheets, and degree certificates, as well as accompanying English translations, to the following Graduate Studies approved credential evaluation agency: International Education Research Foundation (http://www.ierf.org/).The agency will verify the authenticity of the documents; provide a U.S. degree equivalency and a course-by-course evaluation.  This report will be used to clear the GPA and bachelor’s degree admission requirements. Reports are sent electronically. Applicants should request that an electronic report be sent directly to Graduate Studies.

    International Education Research Foundation, Inc. (IERF)
    P.O. Box 3665, Culver City, CA 90231-3665

  6. Satisfy specified departmental requirements before the application deadline, including national examinations (such as the GRE), letters of recommendation, and essay responses including the statement of intent or writing samples. Separate statements of intent and copies of letters of recommendation are required for each program to which an applicant applies.
  7. Satisfy the minimum score requirements for English proficiency as outlined:
    Mimimum Scores on English Proficiency Tests
    IELTS Total band score of 7.0 (minimum band score of 6.0 in each
    TOEFL (Paper-Based) 580
    TOEFL iBT Total 85 (minimum score of 22 in Speaking; minimum score of 21
    in Listening, Reading and Writing)
    CAE 75 or B

    Please note: Some departments require higher minimum scores. Score reports must be sent directly to BYU from the testing agency.  Student copies are unacceptable. The English proficiency examination is required of all applicants whose first language is not English and who have not earned at least a bachelor’s degree from an accredited university in the United States. Conferred U.S. bachelor’s degrees must be less than two years old at the time of enrollment. English Proficiency exam scores (TOEFL, IELTS) are only valid for two years and must be current at the time of enrollment.
    Note: Graduate departments may still require an English exam even if an applicant meets the criteria for an exemption.

  8. Each application requires a non-refundable application fee. Occasionally departments may wish to pay the fee for an exceptional applicant whose application is otherwise complete. To do so, the department sends OGS Form 1 to the Graduate Admissions Administrator in Graduate Studies. Once the payment has cleared, then the applicant can submit the online application.


International Applicants

In addition to the requirements described above, all non-U.S. applicants must submit the following before an appropriate student visa document can be issued upon admission:

Financial Documents. If applicable, an Affadavit of Support, GS Form I-2, for parents or sponsors must be provided. Applicants must provide proof of sufficient funds for the duration of their programs: two years for a master’s program, three years for a doctoral program. Financial certification documents are valid for six months from the date the visa documents are produced. Applicants should submit proof of financial support upon formal admission to the university. Applicants admitted for Fall should send financial documents no earlier than March 1. Transfer Letter. Admitted applicants transferring from another U.S. school are required to submit the International Student Transfer/Release Form, GS Form 8. The designated school official (DSO) at an applicant’s current school should verify the applicant is eligible for transfer to BYU upon admission.  This will release their current visa record from one school and allow us to transfer it to BYU.The United States government requires Brigham Young University to verify that international students can provide evidence of the financial support necessary to complete the degree program to which they are applying (exclusive of travel expenses). Financial support must be provided for at least two years for master’s students and three years for doctoral students. Evidence of financial support may be furnished in any or a combination of the following ways:

Proof of necessary cash from personal savings.A Contract of Support from parents or a sponsor who will pay educational expenses, GS Form I-2 in the application. Proof of a grant or funding from a government or other agency. Proof of a scholarship or assistantship from a department at BYU.All international applicants must submit supporting financial documents to verify any amounts listed under personal, parent or sponsor, or government agencies. The U.S government requires that all international applicants verify financial support with valid recent official financial documents produced or procured from a financial institution within six months of the time a visa document is produced. Documentation older than six months at the time a visa document is produced must be resubmitted. Supporting financial documents must clearly indicate the name on the account, the account balance, the date the document was produced, and the currency. Faxed documents are not permitted.

International Student Employment

International students are eligible to seek part-time employment after receiving approval from International Services. Students with F-1 visas are not permitted to work off campus. F-2 visa holders are not permitted to be employed or to attend the university. For more information students and departments should contact International Services.


Post-Baccalaureate Studies Applicants

Prospective applicants for BYU graduate programs are not encouraged to register for classes on a post-baccalaureate studies basis in hopes of subsequent admission to a graduate program. Students who have earned a baccalaureate degree and wish to take classes at BYU without being admitted to a graduate program must apply through the undergraduate admission application. Questions about postbaccalaureate studies applications should be directed to the BYU Undergraduate Admissions Office.


Joint Degree Programs at BYU (Updated August 2018)

There are a few programs at BYU that are approved as joint degree programs. These programs provide students with the opportunity to earn two graduate degrees simultaneously within their course of study at BYU. Joint programs respond to innovations in thought, practice, and technology, preparing graduate students to integrate knowledge from two or more disciplines in order to extend a new frontier of understanding. Applicants to an approved joint degree program must apply for and be recommended for admission to both programs in order to be eligible for joint degree program status.  They must then submit the GS Form 5 https://gradstudies.byu.edu/file/gs-form-5 to Graduate Studies along with all required signatures from both program representatives attesting to their admission to the joint program and both degrees must be awarded simultaneously.  

Principles that Guide Joint Degree Programs

  • The major motivation for a joint program is to integrate information from different disciplines in order to facilitate theoretical understanding and practice. Synergy has been demonstrated in the combination of the programs; the joint program offers more than a sum of its parts.
  • Joint programs offer an academic core of courses, fieldwork, and/or research experiences that directly address the overlap and integration of the disciplines involved. Faculty members from both programs are usually involved in teaching the academic core.
  • A structure and governance are in place to coordinate the joint programs
    and to provide advisement for students. A critical mass of faculty members develop the integrated nature of the program, and graduate committees contain at least one member from each discipline.
  • A strong graduate culture exists within the joint program enabling graduate students to learn with and from each other.
  • Graduate students may apply some coursework to fulfill requirements in both degree programs. Please note: to be considered a “joint” program the Graduate Council must have approved a written proposal. Only in approved joint programs may some credit apply towards both degrees. In concurrent programs (students work on two degrees simultaneously) credit may not be used towards both degrees. Joint programs, however, extend beyond the “double counting” of credits and represent the merging of disciplines in order to increase understanding of theoretical principles and to inform practice.
  • Culminating graduate experiences—including theses, dissertations, internships, and comprehensive exams—require that students demonstrate the integrated nature of their preparation .


Decision Process

Role of Graduate Studies

Recommending Admission. Graduate Studies receives and checks the university requirements for each application. A five-digit, year/term code is assigned to each application, indicating the year and semester (or term) of a student’s entry into a program. The first four digits refer to the year, and the last digit represents the semester or term. Semesters and terms are coded as follows:

1 = Winter; 3 = Spring; 4 = Summer; 5 = Fall

In this system, a code of 20185 indicates Fall 2018 Semester.

Graduate Studies confirms the U.S. GPA for applicants with U.S. degrees, and enters a GPA from the foreign credential evaluation report for applicants with foreign degrees.

Once all university requirements have been met such as GPA, transcripts, degree, Ecclesiastical Endorsement, and English language, an official admission letter may be produced.  The Ecclesiastical Endorsement must have been received and cleared before departments may recommend applicants for admission.  An official letter of admission will not be processed until all university requirements have cleared.

Note: Departments may recommend an applicant for admission but ONLY Graduate Studies can issue an official offer of admission.

After the admission file has been reviewed for final acceptance by the department and by Graduate Studies, the university notifies the applicant of the admission decision.

Recommending Denial of Admission

In most cases, Graduate Studies does not intervene in the decision to admit or deny an applicant. Nevertheless, the university may deny an applicant without departmental review for the following reasons including but not limited to:

  • The applicant has previously been dismissed from BYU.
  • The applicant lacks a prerequisite undergraduate degree.
  • An international applicant fails to meet the minimum score required on a test of English.
  • An international applicant lacks the appropriate visa to pursue studies.
  • An applicant is or has been involved in criminal activity.
  • An applicant is unable to complete all requirements of admission.

In such cases Graduate Studies collects more information if necessary and, if sufficient cause for denial exists, sends an appropriate letter to the applicant along with a copy to the department.

Role of the Department

The online application data is entered into AIM after submission. Once all recommendations are received, a PDF of the application, recommendations, and unofficial transcripts are viewable on GS02 and GS12. Departments determine procedures and criteria for evaluating applications and decide whom to admit. Applicants may be judged on criteria such as academic record, performance on the GRE or other required exams, preparation for advanced study in the field of interest, letters of recommendation, written intentions for graduate study, and scholarly interests matching the department’s offerings. Additional materials may be required, such as writing samples, interviews, portfolios of previous work, or other test scores.

Although it is inadvisable to act on an application before it is complete, departments may waive, in unusual cases, any or all departmental portions of the application for a particular applicant or make a decision to admit if university portions are missing. Departments cannot make an admission decision if the endorsement is still needed. Nevertheless, an official letter of acceptance will not be sent until all the university requirements have been met. A decision to deny should not be made on a partial application. Applications not completed by the department deadline should be marked Late and do not need to be considered.

In corresponding with applicants, departments can continue to express interest, but should not refer to “admission” until the official admit letter has been issued by Graduate Studies.

Admissions Standards and Practices

Departments should have clearly stated and effectively communicated admissions standards that are reviewed regularly and revised as needed. High expectations should include several criteria, such as the undergraduate GPA, entrance examination scores, and professional experience. Applicants should only be admitted when all or virtually all prerequisite requirements have been met; provisional admittance may be granted if an applicant shows exceptional promise.

Departments should be consistent in applying their admission standards, as well as timely in making admission decisions. The decisions are made by a faculty admissions committee or by the faculty as a whole, including input from all authorized members invited to participate in the admission process. Only as many students as can be effectively guided through a rigorous and carefully advised program should be admitted. Departments should consider their admission target number (AIM screen GSC04) and the student-faculty ratio in the emphasis area applicants wish to pursue.

Recommending Provisional Admission

An applicant who lacks certain prerequisite courses or academic preparation may be provisionally admitted, wherein the graduate department may require that the applicant complete certain requirements, (typically during their graduate program), as a condition of admission and/or continued enrollment. Graduate programs are solely responsible for enforcing the conditions of the provisional admit. 

Applicants with a GPA below 3.00 may also be provisionally admitted.

If the applicant’s GPA is below 2.50, the department must submit a petition for exception, providing substantive evidence that the student is capable of succeeding in a graduate program as determined by the graduate program.  Graduate Studies must grant approval of said petition before the student can be officially admitted.


Additional Actions on Applications

Labeling and Notification (updated August 2018)

An application is considered In Process until a departmental recommendation has been made and all university requirements have been cleared. Applications are withdrawn when the applicant formally notifies the university that he or she does not wish to pursue the application process further or that he or she is unable to accept an offer of admission. Departments should immediately mark withdrawn for admitted applicants who have indicated they will not attend. (Select “withdrawn” from the dropdown menu on GS02 in the “dept rec” box.) This will free up a spot to admit another student. It also provides a letter to the student so they know the university has been informed of their withdraw. Departments may mark applications late at any time after their published deadlines to inform applicants that portions of their application were not received on time. Applicants receive letters and emails informing them of the status of their application. Admitted applicants receive a hard copy letter and an email notice to login to their application. Denied applicants only receive the email notice. These electronic notifications are sent out from AY twice a week on Monday and Thursday mornings.  If an admit decision is entered in error you must contact Graduate Studies immediately and speak to the appropriate full time staff member to ensure that the correct decision is entered in AIM and communicated to the applicant.  Failure to correct an erroneous admissions decision may result in the applicant receiving and subsequently relying on incorrect information.  Detailed instructions for changing application decision status are found in the Procedures section (Section E) of this manual.

Postponement of Application Consideration

Note: Admission generally cannot be deferred, but applicants may be reconsidered with a new applicant pool for a subsequent semester or term. Please be aware that application materials have limited validity. To be considered for another semester or term of admission, applicants must submit a new application.  The only exceptions are for (1) missionary service,  (2) military deployment, (3) medical, or (4) because of international student visa issuance delays which are of no fault of the student.    


Applicants Previously Suspended from BYU

Individuals who were previously suspended from BYU for academic reasons but have subsequently received a baccalaureate degree from another university may apply for graduate studies at BYU. The application requirements and the admission process are the same for all applicants. Graduate Studies can help contact the appropriate office to have the hold removed.


Applicants Awaiting a Clearance

Applicants who are recommended for admission but still have items needing clearance will receive a “recommended for admission, but missing items letter” from Graduate Studies. The letter will inform the applicant of the department’s recommendation and will advise him or her that no official university acceptance can be offered until certain items are cleared. For international applicants, the I-20 will not be sent until all items, including but not limited to the IERF foreign credential evaluation, and all international visa requirements, have been cleared.


Application to Resume Graduate Study (Updated August 2018)

Students are eligible to be considered to resume their graduate program only if they have completed at least one (two-hour) course with an acceptable grade within the first semester of their graduate study. Students who were dropped from programs for failure to meet the minimum registration requirement and wish to resume their graduate studies may do so with departmental and university approval.

Students should expect their previous course work to be re-evaluated and their degree requirements to reflect current expectations of the program as departments make recommendations for admission. The committee may choose to readmit the student with specific provisions or with a change in the Program of Study which addresses any expired course work that will need to be repeated or revised to ensure currency.  This will require the submission of the OGS Form 2, Petition for Exception, with appropriate signatures and a timeline to completion.

Note:  Resuming a student’s program of study DOES NOT extend their time limit for completion of the degree (five years from the semester of entry or the first course that applies to the master’s program of study, OR eight years from the semester of entry or the first course that applies to the doctoral program of study).

Applicants to resume must complete the following steps:

  • Submit an Application to Resume Graduate Study: GS Form 6 https://gradstudies.byu.edu/file/gs-form-6
  • Obtain an ecclesiastical endorsement. Use endorse.byu.edu.
  • Pay a non-refundable processing fee which will be charged to the student’s account once they are approved to resume their program
  • International students : Proof of finances including the form GS Form I-2 along with supporting financial documentation for any sponsors. https://gradstudies.byu.edu/file/gs-form-i2
  • Register for at least two credit hours in the semester or term of readmission. The semester of readmission determines the credit hours of minimum registration required for the year: 6.0 for Fall Semester, 4.0 for Winter Semester, and 2.0 for Spring/Summer Terms. International students must register for a full course of study (9 hours for a semester or 4.5 hours for a term).

After receipt of the approved Application to Resume Graduate Study, Graduate Studies will process the readmission.

Please note: If a former student wants to return to a previously started program and decides to apply through the online application, no previously earned course work will apply to the current program.


Graduate Student Missionary Deferral (Updated August 2018)

Missionary deferments will be granted to graduate students who want to defer their initial enrollment for an LDS Mission. The student must complete a Graduate Missionary Deferment Form 13A: https://gradstudies.byu.edu/file/gs-form-13

The deferment form should be submitted to the Graduate Studies office after a mission call, but before entering the MTC, and before the start of the first semester for which the student would have enrolled (otherwise the student will be dropped as a “no-show”). The following conditions must be met:

  • Do not attend any college or university between leaving and returning from the mission.
  • Receive an honorable release and an ecclesiastical endorsement from the Mission President.
  • Return for the semester or term indicated on the Graduate Student Missionary Deferment form, which must comply with the following schedule:
Return from Mission Enroll No Later Than
October-April Fall Semester
May-September Winter Semester

Granting  a deferral is for enrollment only, and does not imply the deferral of scholarships, fellowships, or assistantships. Any commitments that have been made to affiliate with a specific faculty adviser, lab, or research project will no longer apply.

 All graduate degree programs are subject to a time limit (eight years for a doctoral degree and five years for a master’s degree). Time to degree begins with the semester of the student’s original acceptance into the program or the first course on the program of study.


Graduate Studies Military Deferment (Updated August 2018)

Military deferments will be granted to graduate students who need to defer their initial enrollment because of military deployments that do not extend more than 12 months. The student must complete the GS Form 13B, Graduate Student Military Deferment form: https://gradstudies.byu.edu/file/gs-form-13b 

The deferment form should be submitted to Graduate Studies as soon as they receive their orders and before the start of the first semester for which they would have been enrolled (otherwise the student will be dropped as a “no-show”). The following conditions must be met:

  • Do not attend any college or university between leaving for and returning from the military assignment.
  • Submit a copy of proof of Military Deployment orders
  • Return for the semester or term indicated on the Graduate Student Military Deferment form, which must comply with the following schedule:
Return from Mission Enroll No Later Than
October-April Fall Semester
May-September Winter Semester

Granting of a deferral is for enrollment only, and does not imply the deferral of scholarships, fellowships, or assistantships. Any commitments that have been made to affiliate with a specific faculty adviser, lab, or research project will no longer apply. All graduate degree programs are subject to a time limit (eight years for a doctoral degree and five years for a master’s degree). Time to degree begins with the semester of the student’s acceptance into the program.


Graduate Studies Medical Deferment (Updated August 2018)

Medical deferments will be granted to graduate students who need to defer their initial enrollment because of medical condition which substantially prevents them from physically attending classes before the add/drop deadline of the first semester for which they are recommended for admission that does not exceed more than 4 semesters (spring & summer terms combined count as 1 semester). The student must complete the GS Form 13C, Graduate Student Medical Deferment form:  

The deferment form should be submitted to Graduate Studies before the start of the first semester for which they would have been enrolled (otherwise the student will be dropped as a “no-show”). The following conditions must be met:

  • Do not attend any college or university between leaving for and returning.
  • Submit an official note from a certified physician indicating the medical condition/s preventing the student from physically attending classes.
  • Return for the semester or term indicated on the Graduate Student Medical Deferment form, which must comply with the following schedule:
Return from Mission Enroll No Later Than
October-April Fall Semester
May-September Winter Semester

Granting of a deferral is for enrollment only, and does not imply the deferral of scholarships, fellowships, or assistantships. Any commitments that have been made to affiliate with a specific faculty adviser, lab, or research project will no longer apply. All graduate degree programs are subject to a time limit (eight years for a doctoral degree and five years for a master’s degree). Time to degree begins with the semester of the student’s acceptance into the program.


Full Disclosure and Confidentiality

Submission of incomplete information or falsification of information constitutes grounds for immediate dismissal and loss of all credit earned at BYU. Once
the university receives application materials, those materials become university property and are kept in strictest confidence, as required by university policy. Once the parts of an application have been received, materials will not be returned to the applicant, even if he or she is denied.

In the online letter of recommendation request, applicants indicate either
that they waive or do not waive their right of access to the form and letter of recommendation. When an applicant waives right of access, the recommender expects that his or her comments will remain confidential and frequently makes more candid observations than would be likely if no such pledge of confidentiality had been made. For this reason, if the applicant has waived the right of access,
he or she should never, under any circumstances, be shown, given information contained in, or have released to him or her or a third party a copy of that part of the application.

Under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA), applicants who have not waived their right of access have the right to see comments written about them only after they have been admitted and have enrolled. This act does not apply to applicants who are not admitted or to admitted applicants who do not enroll. Admitted students who did not waive their right of access and wish to view their letters of recommendation may be shown them after submitting a written request to Graduate Studies after the admit semester has begun. Students are not permitted to make copies for their personal use and may only view their documents at Graduate Studies in a controlled environment.  All employees of the university with access to student information are required to view the FERPA DVD. For more information on FERPA, contact the Registrar’s Office. The web address to view this information online is: https://registrar.byu.edu/records-privacy-ferpa.

If applicants (in person or by telephone) ask about the status of their application, they must first verify their identity via picture ID and/or their BYU ID Number and birth date. Questions may then be answered with the following restrictions:

  • Applicants will not be given information about letters of recommendation (content or ratings).
  • Employees should NOT say to an applicant, “You’ve been admitted.” Applicants may be told, “We’ve recommended that you be admitted; nevertheless, your acceptance is not guaranteed or official until you receive the official letter of acceptance from Graduate Studies.”  Occasionally a friend or relative will telephone or visit Graduate Studies to check on an applicant’s status or to look at the application. Giving information to a third party may be a violation of BYU’s confidentiality policy (depending on the information given and what guest access they have been granted by the applicant), so university policy requires applicants to write or telephone directly rather than having friends check for them.
  • Check to confirm regulation on applicants.

Non-Discrimination Statement

Financial Assistance

Graduate Funding

Departments are encouraged to provide adequate financial support for graduate students. Sources of funds for graduate students include college and department funds, funds allocated by Graduate Studies to departments, and external grants and contracts.

Four types of funding are offered through individual departments: assistantships, internships, private scholarships, and supplementary awards. Most graduate awards given by BYU are in the form of teaching and research assistantships because teaching and research are vital components of graduate programs. Supplementary awards can be given as cash, tuition, or travel awards. Audit credit, special examination credit, or independent study courses may not be paid for by a supplementary tuition award.

New students may inquire about departmental graduate funding during the regular admission process by contacting their department. Continuing students can obtain information and applications from their departments. To be eligible for an assistantship or supplementary award, one must be a degree-seeking graduate student in good standing who is registered for at least two credit hours in the semester (or one credit hour in the term) for which the award is granted.

In addition, Graduate Studies lists on its website some funding opportunities available to graduate students.  Awards and eligibility vary. Departments should publish information about financial aid opportunities for students in their programs.



The High Impact Doctoral Research Assistantship (HIDRA) award program is designed for faculty to recruit non-BYU originating PhD graduate students, and is therefore restricted to applicants whose undergraduate and master’s education was obtained at other institutions (current BYU students are ineligible for this award).  The applicant must agree to be supervised by a faculty member who has an active research program. Faculty members are encouraged to use the HIDRA program to recruit high-quality applicants. 

To be considered, the faculty member and the applicant must submit a joint proposal to Graduate Studies.

The faculty member's portion of the proposal must include:

  • a) a current curriculum vitae,
  • b) a description of the proposed research and the role of the graduate student, 
  • c) an explanation of how the proposed research addresses the long-term goals of the graduate program,
  • d) the expected results of the research
  • e) Letters of recommendation from the dean and department chair that evaluate the qualifications of the faculty member, the significance of the proposed work, and the level of department/college support.

The applicant's portion of the proposal must include:

  • a) a current curriculum vitae,
  • b) GPA, GRE, and other scores relevant to the discipline,
  • c) a description of  the proposed research,
  • d) three letters of recommendation from qualified academic sources.

A total of five HIDRA awards will be granted each year, with no more than two coming from the same college.

The awards will be for $30,000 per academic year for a maximum of three years. Students and faculty will be required to submit annual written reports of progress in order for the awards to be continued.  Students who receive the HIDRA award must adhere to Brigham Young University's Honor Code while a student at BYU.  Please submit completed application (including supporting letters from the department/college) to denise_gibbons@byu.edu.  Deadline is January 15.

Graduate Mentoring Assistantship 

This assistantship is a faculty-originated funding mechanism which gives graduate students an opportunity to mentor undergraduate students.

The goal of the GMA program is to enable students (both undergraduate and graduate) to participate in a scholarly project that is of extraordinary and potentially life-changing experiential significance that would not be possible without funding from Graduate Studies.

Funding is limited to a maximum of $15,000, depending on the resource needs of the proposed project, and must be restricted to direct support of the proposed project.  The application must include an itemized budget.

Proposals are initiated by faculty and submitted to the dean of their respective colleges.  The dean will evaluate the proposals and submit their rank-ordered proposals to Graduate Studies no later than the 15th of January.  Each college will establish its own deadlines for receiving proposals from the faculty.

The criteria for this award are as follows:

  • Students must be engaged in scholarship that goes beyond what is considered normal or routine for a high quality graduate experience in the discipline.
  • Students must be required to demonstrate a high degree of maturity, initiative, and independence.
  • In addition to a clear, coherent, but concise description of the scholarly content of the proposed project, the application must explain how it will enable the students to significantly deepen their understanding of the principles and truths of their discipline.
  • The application must provide a convincing argument that the proposed project will not be financially possible without funding from Graduate Studies.  If it is to be performed in conjunction with other scholarly projects, the distinctive features of this project must be clearly identified.


Graduate Research Fellowship Award (This program is currently furloughed {September 2017})

The Graduate Studies Research Fellowships are intended to support innovative research or creative works, including well-conceived undergraduate student mentoring, conducted by graduate students under the guidance of faculty advisors. Recipients must be in good academic standing at Brigham Young University and must be making satisfactory progress.

The awards are due February 1 each year and are directed to all matriculated graduate students. Awards are distributed in the recipients student account the following Fall semester. Those working toward doctoral degrees are eligible if they will have completed at least one year of graduate school by the Fall semester in which the award is disbursed. Master’s degree candidates must have been matriculated in their programs on or before the Fall semester. Recipients must be in good academic standing and must be making satisfactory progress toward completion of their degrees.

Graduate Research Fellowship awards will be awarded each year. To be considered, the student must supply the following information via an online application procedure. (Incomplete applications will not be evaluated.)

  • Student name and contact information.
  • Matriculation Details.
  • Degree Program.
  • Enrollment Date.
  • Expected Graduation Date.
  • Advisory Committee Chair.
  • Curriculum vitae (resume) that describes the student’s accomplishments, education, and aspirations.
  • Title.
  • Abstract (900 character maximum).
  • Concise statement of academic merit (300 word maximum).
  • Explain the importance of the proposed activity to advancing knowledge and understanding.
  • Describe the extent to which the proposal suggests and explores creative and original concepts.
  • Proposal body (use language and style that is accessible to reviewers outside your discipline).
  • Content: define the purpose, methodology, and expected results.
  • Page limit: five pages total (3 page proposal, including appendices {optional}).  Proposal contains background and references.
  • Letters of recommendation.
  • The applicant’s advisor must provide a recommendation that describes the capability of the student to generate creative and original scholarship and an assessment of the significance of the proposed project. The recommendation should indicate how the student’s proposal fits into the advisor’s scholarly interests.
  • Recommendations must be provided by two other BYU faculty members or other qualified individuals who are familiar with the applicant’s interests and capabilities.
  • Recommendations are submitted online.

On the form the applicant answers questions, identifies the advisor as well as others who will submit letters of reference, and uploads the actual proposal. Once the application is submitted, the applicant cannot make any changes. Applications will be judged by (a) the quality of the proposal as indicated by the statement of merit and the content of the proposal and (b) the applicant’s potential for accomplishing the proposed project. A selection committee will be impaneled by the Dean of Graduate Studies. Recipients of Graduate Studies Fellowship Awards must maintain their degree-seeking status and be registered for at least two semester hours during the Fall semester.

Note: As soon as the applicant chooses a reference name on the application form, the recommender can go online and submit their recommendation. The applicant may also choose to send a reminder e-mail by clicking the ‘Send email’ button near the faculty member’s name on the ‘Recommendations’ area of the application. Any optional letters of recommendation must be attached to the application by the recommenders. Applicants may confirm that a recommendation has been submitted by looking at her/his application online.

The research/creative work proposal is to be clearly written so it can be understood by reviewers outside the applicant’s field. It should not exceed three double or single-sided pages. The following should be clearly stated:

  • Purpose of the project.
  • Essential features of the methodology.
  • Projected results of the project.
  • Potential impact/value/importance of the project.
  • At the conclusion of the academic year in which the funding was awarded, graduate students must submit a one-page report describing the outcomes of the project.

Three letters of recommendation must be submitted: one from the applicant’s advisor and two others from BYU faculty who are familiar with the applicant’s project and academic performance.


Research Presentation Awards

Graduate Studies provides funding annually to assist qualified graduate students in presenting research and/or creative works at conferences or other forums. Research Presentation Award applications are solicited twice yearly, in Fall and Winter Semesters. If a student presents their research between January 1 and June 30, they apply at the beginning of Winter Semester. If the student presents between July 1 and December 31, they apply at the beginning of Fall Semester. Interested students may complete a Research Presentation Award Application online at the Graduate Student Society page of the Graduate Studies website (https://gss.byu.edu). Each application must be accompanied by an online recommendation completed by a professor of the student’s choice. Each application is reviewed by members of the GSS Council and the student’s graduate coordinator. Award recommendations are made to the Dean of Graduate Studies. More information can be found on the Graduate Student Society page of the Graduate Studies website (https://gss.byu.edu).


Student Loans

Two types of student loans are available to graduate students who qualify: BYU loans (short-term, Law School, and Marriott School) and Federal Stafford Loans. Only degree-seeking students who are making satisfactory academic progress will be considered for loan approval. International students are not eligible for Federal Stafford Loans.


On-Campus Employment

Student campus jobs other than assistantships and internships are listed at Student Employment Services. Graduate students wishing to seek on-campus employment must be registered for a minimum of two credit hours. Full-time graduate students are not permitted to work more than 20 hours at on-campus employment outside of their academic departments or 30 hours within their departments. International students must be registered for at least 9 credit hours or have full-time status in order to work on campus. Special employment restrictions may apply to international students. For more information regarding on-campus employment, contact Student Employment Services.


Definitions of Important Terms

Matriculated:  Once a student is admitted to a graduate program, he/she is considered matriculated as of the semester of acceptance.  A newly admitted graduate student must complete a 2 hour course during their semester of acceptance; if they do not complete a 2 hour course their first semester, they are deleted as a graduate student in that program.  However, after the first semester, an admitted graduate student is a matriculated student even when they are not enrolled in any course work as long as they meet the minimum registration requirements.  After the first semester, a matriculated student is considered eligible to enroll in classes but does not necessarily need to be enrolled in every semester until he graduates.

Enrolled:  A graduate student is enrolled effective on the first day of classes for the semester/term of registration if he/she is registered for at least 2 hours of course work in a semester or 1 hour of course work in a term.


Advisement and Student Handbooks

Departments are required to provide all entering graduate students with access to a graduate student handbook describing current policies, requirements, expectations, and procedures that graduate students need to know to successfully complete a degree in the department. The handbook must be accurate, updated annually, made available to students online or given as a hard copy, and ensured reception by sign-off.

This handbook should give details on degree requirements, including course work, committees, examinations, dissertations, theses, projects, internships, practica etc., and explain department-specific policies and procedures for obtaining advisement, forming a committee, establishing a Program of Study, etc. In addition to the details of the department’s graduate offering (i.e., courses, program/track options, etc.), the handbook should contain information on university procedures that students need to be aware of, such as applying for graduation, scheduling final exams, and submitting dissertations or theses. Departments will specify what consitutes satisfactory, marginal, and unsatisfactory progress in their handbooks and will inform students of the rating process and the consequences of the ratings. The handbook should also specify department and university policies and procedures with regard to dismissal and grievances. Another important element of the handbook is a discussion of financial aid opportunities available through the department and the university.

Departments should have formal orientation procedures or seminars to acquaint new students with the expectations and requirements of graduate study in the department and the university. At the time of admission, departments may assign an initial advisor who makes sure new students are well informed and assists in selecting a permanent advisor. The permanent advisor should be selected by the end of the student’s first semester. 


Graduate Committees

The minimum university requirement for graduate faculty is that a faculty member have full-time status at the university with professorial rank and have a terminal degree (highest degree awarded within a discipline). Commitment and availability to mentor graduate students throughout their programs of study is also expected. College or department criteria for graduate faculty status may exceed these criteria and may specify varying levels of responsibility (e.g., acting as a committee chair vs. a member, chairing master’s vs. doctoral committees).

Each college has established additional minimum criteria/expectations for faculty to qualify for graduate faculty status. Colleges submit criteria for designating graduate faculty status and a description of the procedures followed to identify graduate faculty to the Graduate Council. Sustained, substantial, and consequential research effort or creative endeavor evidenced by regular publications or creative works in visible and influential peer reviewed or juried forums may be part of their consideration. When a new faculty member is hired, the college dean considers all the criteria and makes a recommendation to the graduate dean, after which the requested member is approved as graduate faculty. The Graduate Council and the Dean of Graduate Studies work with each college to determine that criteria are in harmony with those specified above. Thereafter, departments submit a list of graduate faculty to be included in the graduate catalog each year. This list is approved by the Dean of Graduate Studies.

The following university requirements apply to graduate committees:

The chair must be from the student’s major department. (Students who desire an interdisciplinary experience should see the section on Interdisciplinary Graduate Study.)

Master’s degree committees must consist of at least three members; doctoral committees must consist of at least four members. If a student declares a minor, one member of the committee must be from the minor department. The committee is formed and entered in AIM at the same time the student’s Program of Study is created. Departments may have additional members; nevertheless, they are intended to be permanent members of the student’s committee.

All committee members share in the responsibility for conscientiously advising and directing the student concerning course work, degree requirements, research (thesis and dissertation), and creative work. For example, all will participate in such events as prospectus meetings, comprehensive exams, and dissertation, or thesis defenses and will be responsible for evaluating the student’s performance. The individual contribution of committee members may vary in effort, and intensity, but all members must be available for frequent scholarly interaction with the students they advise. Effective committee members return thesis drafts and other materials promptly so that students do not experience unnecessary delays in completing their programs.


Program of Study

The Program of Study is a carefully considered plan which identifies the student’s major, lists all courses required, and designates the graduate committee. It may also include a minor. Prerequisite and skill courses are neither determined nor required by the university, but they are tracked in AIM if entered on the Program of Study. Each Program of Study must meet the minimum university degree requirements. Necessary changes in a student’s program or committee can be made if authorized by the student’s committee and department graduate coordinator. After making a change, the department must resubmit the Program of Study or graduate committee for university approval; the department retains the Program of Study Change, ADV Form 3b, in their records (https://gradstudies.byu.edu/file/adv-form-3b).

Master’s degree students should outline their Program of Study under the direction of their graduate committee during their first semester, completing it no later than the third week of the second semester. Doctoral students should receive approval and submit their Program of Study during the first year, with completion no later than the third week of the beginning of the second year of study.

Departments may contact Graduate Studies to prevent students who have not submitted a Program of Study from registering for subsequent semesters.

Departments should publish and distribute to graduate students a multi-year schedule of course offerings so they may plan their course of study. Graduate course offerings must be sequenced appropriately and offered with sufficient frequency to prevent delays in degree completion.


Progress Reports

Progress Reports list all course requirements from a student’s Program of Study and summarize the student’s progress including completed classes, current registration, deficient classes, and grade point average. In addition, these reports indicate possible problems with academic status, GPA, current registration, prerequisite degrees, courses, minimum registration requirements, and time limit. Students are responsible to work with their departments regarding any needed change. Departments and students may view Progress Reports online or print them at any time for their own records or for distribution.


Evaluations of Student Progress

Departments should encourage students to complete their degree programs in a timely fashion. Departments are required to formally monitor each graduate student’s progress twice during the academic year, at clearly designated times, and inform the student in writing of his or her status. If marginal or unsatisfactory progress is noted, the student should be advised in writing what they need to do, when it needs to be accomplished, and whom to contact for help in order to demonstrate satisfactory progress. 

Students who receive an unsatisfactory rating or do not receive an evaluation will not be eligible to obtain financial aid. The Financial Aid Office is required by federal regulations to evaluate a student’s performance to ensure that the student will be able to graduate within the maximum time frame. Evaluations must be recorded on AIM screen ADV12. Failure to enter evaluations may result in the student being denied federal financial aid.

  1. Departments must monitor graduate student progress at least twice each academic year.
    1. The graduate faculty or a committee consisting of graduate faculty (at least the student’s thesis/dissertation advisory committee or program advisor [for non thesis programs] and the graduate coordinator) discusses the progress of each student.
    2. Each student is rated as making satisfactory, marginal, or unsatisfactory progress.
    3. Students are notified in writing of their progress.
    4. Students making marginal or unsatisfactory progress are informed:
      1. What they need to do to make satisfactory progress.
      2. When each task needs to be accomplished.
      3. What faculty member(s) they should contact for more information or support.
      4. What will happen if these tasks are not accomplished (e.g., an unsatisfactory rating for the next semester, termination from the program, etc.).
  2. Two unacceptable ratings will have the following consequences:
    1. If a student receives a marginal and an unsatisfactory or two unsatisfactory ratings in succession the university will:
      1. Terminate the student’s program at the conclusion of the semester (NOTE: A report that includes the names of students with two unacceptable evaluations will run September 30th, January 30th, and May 30th. A termination letter will be sent to these students unless Graduate Studies receives a Petition for Exception from the student’s department.)
      2. OR Graduate Studies will receive a Petition for Exception, OGS Form 2 (https://gradstudies.byu.edu/file/ogs-form-2), from the student’s department making a convincing case that the student be given another semester to demonstrate satisfactory progress. A copy of a contract to completion listing student and faculty responsibilities and a time line must be attached. This document will include the signatures of the student and the student’s graduate committee. Note: The completion deadline in AIM will be shortened based on the contract to completion.
  3. If a student receives a marginal rating in one semester and is not making satisfactory progress in the next semester, the student must be rated as making unsatisfactory progress.  In other words, a student may not be rated as making marginal progress in two sequential semesters.  Failing to correct marginal progress is unsatisfactory.  
  4. Departments will specify what constitutes satisfactory, marginal, and unsatisfactory progress in their handbooks and will inform students of the rating process and the consequences of the ratings.  In the case of marginal or unsatisfactory progress, communication by certified letter with return receipt is required.  The letter should list requirements that the student must fulfill, time deadlines for those requirements, and the faculty whom the student should contact for information or help. 
    1. Marginal progress may include the following:
      1. Failure to submit Program of Study.
      2. Failure to establish a graduate committee.
      3. Registering for thesis hours when little or no work has been done.
      4. Failure to submit an approved thesis/dissertation prospectus.
      5. Minimal contact with chair or advisory committee members.
      6. Prospectus or thesis/dissertation draft not approved.
      7. Limited progress toward courses and requirements on Program of Study.
      8. Poor performance in clinical/externship/applied experience.
      9. Poor performance in research.
    2. Unsatisfactory progress may include the following:
      1. Grade in a course falling below B-.
      2. Failure to complete Program of Study.
      3. Failure to establish a graduate committee.
      4. Failing a course.
      5. Registering for thesis hours when little or no work has been done.
      6. Failure to submit an approved thesis/dissertation prospectus.
      7. Failure of comprehensive exams.
      8. Minimal or no contact with chair or advisory committee members.
      9. Prospectus or thesis/dissertation draft not approved.
      10. Lacking progress toward courses and requirements on Program of Study.
      11. Poor performance in clinical/externship/applied experience.
      12. Rated as marginal in previous review and has not remediated weak areas.
      13. Concerns about ethical or professional behavior.
      14. Poor performance in research.
      15. Failure to resolve any problems or fulfill any requirements indicated in a previous marginal or unsatisfactory review.

Graduate students matriculated in programs should continually be enrolled in course work, be completing internships, and/or be actively involved in scholarly or creative work. Departments must recognize that a student’s first responsibility is to his or her own academic program. Other duties, such as teaching assignments, should enhance the graduate education experience, not impede progress toward a degree. The number of courses a graduate student teaches should be strictly limited by departments.


Leave of Absence

Students must have completed at least two credit hours the semester of admission with acceptable grades to be eligible for a leave of absence. Students may request a leave of absence for the following reasons:  medical, military, or mission. While on leave, the student will be excused from minimum registration requirements (which would normally require 6 credit hours per academic year).  Also, students on leave will not be required to demonstrate satisfactory progress in the program (which is normally assessed by two evaluations per academic year).  However, the 5 year time limit for the master’s degree and the 8 year time limit for the doctoral degree will still apply. 

Students requesting leave must submit the Leave of Absence: ADV Form 5, (https://gradstudies.byu.edu/file/adv-form-5). Additionally, students requesting leave will be required to provide the following documentation, depending on the reason for the requested leave: 

  • Medical—letter from doctor or therapist including the amount of leave time recommended by the professional (up to one year at a time).
  • Military—copy of the military assignment including the length of assignment (up to one year at a time).
  • Mission—copy of mission call letter including anticipated date of return (up to one year at a time).

Once Graduate Studies has received and processed the request, the “leave” status will appear in the AIM system on ADV12 (Graduate Evaluations) and REG01 (Registration).


Credit Policies

Recommended Registration Limit

Because graduate study is more rigorous than undergraduate study, students should generally not be required to register for more than 12 credit hours in a semester or 6 credit hours in a term. In many programs, even that may be too much. Graduate students may not register for more than 22 credit hours in a semester or 11 credit hours in a term.

Departments should monitor course loads carefully. Furthermore, registration for thesis or dissertation credit, as well as work on the thesis or dissertation, should be concurrent and reasonable. It would be inappropriate, for example, for a student to register for all 18 dissertation credit hours in one semester or term. Students should consult with their committee chair in determining an appropriate and reasonable credit enrollment.

Graduate Credit

Courses at the 600-level and above are reserved for graduate students. In exceptional circumstances selected post-baccalaureate studies students and undergraduate students may register for a 600-level course with permission from the instructor.

Senior Credit

In some restricted instances students seeking a master’s degree may apply credit taken during the senior year at BYU toward the degree, but in no instance can this credit apply to both a baccalaureate and a graduate degree. Senior and postbaccalaureate credit combined cannot exceed 10 semester hours in a graduate program. Thoroughly qualified undergraduates who are willing and able to meet graduate level standards may enroll in graduate 500-level courses. 

Post-Baccalaureate Studies Credit

Credit taken after the baccalaureate degree has been received without admission to a graduate program is defined as post-baccalaureate studies credit. Students subsequently admitted to graduate programs should not expect all postbaccalaureate credit to apply to their graduate programs. Similarly, departments should not encourage students to enroll in post-baccalaureate studies courses as a means of gaining admission to graduate programs. In some instances, departments may recommend that post-baccalaureate studies credit apply to a master’s or doctoral degree; however, post-baccalaureate studies and senior credit combined cannot exceed 10 semester hours in a master’s or doctoral program.

Other BYU Credit

In some instances, a limited number of 300 and 400 level courses can apply to a master’s degree. However, lower-division courses (100 and 200 level), Independent Study (correspondence) courses, 300 and 400 level religion courses, and education courses numbered 514R cannot apply toward a graduate degree. No undergraduate courses may apply toward a doctoral degree (except those already applied to a master’s degree).

Transfer Credit

Credit taken at other accredited universities in the United States or in Canada may, with departmental approval, be applied toward a graduate degree at BYU under the following conditions:

  • Transfer credits must be clearly graduate level.
  • The grade for any such course must be B or higher pass/fail credit is non-transferable.
  • Home study, correspondence, and extension courses are non-transferable.
  • Courses taken before a student begins graduate work at BYU must be approved during a student’s first semester of study at BYU.
  • Courses taken at another university after the student has begun studies at BYU must be pre-approved by graduate committee members and the graduate coordinator; the proposed credit must be submitted on the Program of Study in AIM.
  • Only credit taken within the student's time limit may count towards the degree (8 years for doctoral and 5 years for master's degree).
  • Credit cannot have already been applied to another degree.

The number of credits a student may transfer varies according to the number of credit hours required for the BYU graduate program. The maximum number of transfer credits should constitute no more than 25% of the total required for the program, not to exceed 15 credit hours in any program. For example, if senior and/or post-baccalaureate studies credits are used in conjunction with transfer credit, the total may not exceed 15 credit hours.

Required Program Hours Transfer Credit Limit
30 7
36 9
40 10
50 12
60 15
61+ 15

Under certain circumstances credit from accredited or certified international universities may be considered for transfer if all the conditions required for transferring credit are met and the department submits a written justification assuring the following, before the classes are taken:

  • The international university is highly regarded as an institution of higher education and accredited by the International Association of Universities.
  • The content, rigor, and applicability of the courses are appropriate for the student’s graduate program and will enrich the student’s graduate experience.

A student may also choose to transfer the credit by successfully completing a challenge examination in the course(s).

NOTE: Transfer credits from other universities may be considered for BYU Doctoral Programs as long as they exceed the university minimums (see doctoral degree) and they meet the rules for transfer credit.

Credits Certified by Challenge Examination

In rare circumstances, with the approval of the department and Graduate Studies, up to 10 semester hours may be certified by challenge examination. The following are examples:

  • A student may wish to transfer normally disallowed graduate credit from a non-accredited institution or from a international university.
  • A student may wish to challenge a course on the Program of Study that covers material already mastered.

A graduate student may challenge only credit specific to the graduate program to which he or she has been admitted. A student may obtain the Graduate Degree Course Challenge Examination: ADV Form 3d (https://gradstudies.byu.edu/file/adv-form-3d).

Combined Credit Limit

The number of combined transfer, senior, and post-baccalaureate studies credit hours may constitute no more than 25% of the total hours required for the program and may not exceed 15 credit hours in any program.

Required Program Hours Combined Senior / PBS / Credit Limit
30 10
36 10
40 10
50 12
60 15
61+ 15


Outdated Credit

Only credit taken within the time limit for each degree may count toward the degree (eight years for doctoral degrees and five years for master’s degrees). Departments and colleges may petition to allow credit outdated by more than one year, but by no more than five years, to apply toward a degree. The petition must be accompanied by impressive documentation that the credit in question has been updated by courses retaken, by special readings courses, or by examinations in each of the courses. If a master’s degree is conferred in 2015, no credit taken before 2005 may apply to the degree, regardless of circumstances.

Time Limit Extensions

Departments and colleges may petition for an extension of up to one year by providing reasonable evidence that extenuating circumstances caused an unavoidable delay in the student’s progress toward a degree. To petition for an extension of more than one year but no more than five years, the department and student must write up a contract with a detailed time line to degree completion. This contract must include impressive documentation that any outdated credits have been updated by courses retaken, by special readings courses in the subjects outdated, or by examinations in each of the courses, and it must be signed by the student and all the members of the graduate committee. No credit outdated by more than five years may apply to a curent degree, regardless of circumstances.


Degree Requirements

Minimum standards for graduate degrees have been established by the university; department requirements may exceed those standards. Current information about specific program requirements should be published in department graduate student handbooks.

Master’s Degree

A graduate committee or appointed program advisor helps each student prepare a Program of Study. The following requirements must be met:

  1. At least 30 credit hours (excluding prerequisite courses) must be completed in the master’s program after completion of a baccalaureate degree. (See the Credit Policies section for information about credits that may not apply toward a graduate degree.) The Program of Study may not include more than the minimum required thesis hours (6) or project hours (2-6). Only students actively involved in thesis or project research should register for thesis or project credit.
  2. Time limitations must be observed. Most master’s degree programs are designed to be completed within two years. All master’s degrees must be completed within five years of the first semester of enrollment in the program or from the first course taken, whichever comes first. Matriculation in a program may be terminated at any time for failure to make satisfactory progress toward the degree.
  3. To receive a minor, a master’s student must:
    • Obtain the approval of the department chair or graduate coordinator of the major and minor departments.
    • Select a graduate faculty member from the minor department (approved by the department chair or graduate coordinator of the minor department) to serve as a graduate committee member.
    • Have the major department add the minor in AIM (ADV07).
    • Register for and complete nine semester hours of approved graduate credit in the minor.
    • Pass an oral or a written comprehensive examination in the minor field (prepared by the minor committee member).

Doctoral Degree

Graduate committees help students prepare a Program of Study and meet the residency requirements. The following requirements must be met:

  1. The student must complete the minimum number of credit hours required by the graduate program. The Program of Study may not include more than the minimum required dissertation credits (18). Registration for dissertation credit and work on the dissertation must be concurrent. Doctoral students may not take all dissertation credit in one term or semester. With graduate committee approval, students may apply up to 36 credit hours of an earned master’s degree towards a doctoral degree. The following are the minimum required hours for doctoral degrees:
    • For students with no master’s degree, the minimum requirement is 54 hours beyond a bachelor’s degree; but the 54 hours may not include undergraduate courses (100 to 400 level), other courses needed to fulfill prerequisite and skill requirements, or more than 18 hours of dissertation credit.
    • 36 hours earned at BYU for a doctor of philosophy degree, 18 of which are doctoral dissertation credits, if a master’s degree has been earned.  Note: Transfer credits from other universities may be considered for BYU doctoral programs as long as they exceed the university minimums and they meet the rules for transfer credit.
  2. The program must be completed in a timely manner. Most doctoral degree programs are designed to be completed within four to five years. All doctoral degrees must be completed within eight years of the first semester of enrollment in the program or from the first course taken, whichever comes first. Matriculation in a program may be terminated at any time for failure to make satisfactory progress toward the degree.
  3. The student must register for at least two consecutive six-hour semesters on the BYU campus to fulfill the doctoral residency requirement.
  4. To receive a minor, a doctoral student must:
    • Obtain the approval of the department chair or graduate coordinator of the major and minor departments.
    • Select a graduate faculty member from the minor department (approved by the department chair or graduate coordinator of the minor department) to serve as a graduate committee member.
    • Have the major department add the minor in AIM (ADV07).
    • Register for and complete 12 semester hours of approved graduate credit in the minor.
    • Pass an oral or a written comprehensive examination in the minor field (prepared by the minor committee member).
  5. To meet the doctoral residency requirement, students must register for at least two consecutive 6-hour semesters on the BYU campus.


Changing Degree Levels

In some cases departments may request that a student be allowed to change from one degree level to another without interrupting enrollment. A Request to Change Graduate Degree Level: GS Form 7 (https://gradstudies.byu.edu/file/adv-form-7) is required, and in some cases a fee is charged. International students must submit new financial certification and supporting documentation with the GS Form 7. A student wishing to seek a degree in a different department must apply as a new applicant online.


Integrated Programs

There are a few integrated master’s programs in which students will earn their baccalaureate and master’s degrees concurrently. Students in an integrated program will:

  1. Be admitted as a graduate student at least two semesters prior to graduation.
  2. Complete a Notification of Integrated or Joint Program Status: GS Form 5 (https://gradstudies.byu.edu/file/gs-form-5).
  3. Pay at least two semesters (or one full-time semester and two full-time terms) of full-time graduate student tuition. (see B-7)
  4. Earn no fewer than 150 semester hours for both degrees (120 for the bachelor’s degree; 30 for the master’s degree).
  5. Receive both the bachelor’s degree and the master’s degree simultaneously (the same semester and year/term).
  6. Once admitted, students will not be allowed to back date their graduate admission to a prior semester/term. 
  7. Graduate Studies cannot consider a prior semester’s undergraduate tuition as partial payment for graduate tuition.


Concurrent Programs

A student may, with the approval of both programs, be admitted to two graduate degrees and work concurrently towards their completion:

  1. Departments may admit students to a PhD and either (a) allow or (b) require them to complete the master’s degree first. - August 2013
  2. Departments may admit students to a master’s degree program and then admit them to continue on in a PhD prior to the completion of the master’s degree.
  3. Students may be interested in pursuing two separate master’s degrees or two separate doctoral degrees concurrently.  If acceptable to both programs and the student makes appropriate progress in both degrees, the student may be enrolled in two programs simultaneously.  However, all hours required for each program must be met separately as there may be no double counting of credit on either program of study.


Interdisciplinary Graduate Study

Interdisciplinary study involves the combining of two or more academic disciplines through sharing theory, methodology, and applications. A student wishing to engage in interdisciplinary graduate study must therefore associate with multiple academic units. The following stipulations will govern the administration of interdisciplinary graduate study at BYU:

Operational Issues

The request for interdisciplinary graduate study must be initiated by the student, who must seek out faculty members who are interested and willing to serve as advisors. Once such connections are made, the student will need to constitute a formal advisory committee and establish a program of study. Since such arrangements will typically cross departmental and even college boundaries, the coordination and approval of all involved departments and colleges is essential. Establishing coordination requires the following definitions.

  • Student’s home department: The department in which the student resides.
  • Advisor’s home department: The department in which the advisor resides.
  • Host department: The department that houses the degree program.

The following proposed principles govern the establishment of an interdisciplinary student’s advisory committee chair:

  • A request for assigning a chair outside the student’s home department must originate with the student.
  • Each request for interdisciplinary graduate study must be submitted to Graduate Studies as a formal proposal. A Request for Interdisciplinary Graduate Study form, ADV Form 1 (https://gradstudies.byu.edu/file/adv-form-1) must be jointly prepared by the student’s home department, the advisory committee chair’s home department, and the host department.
  • There will be no standing approvals for faculty members to serve as graduate faculty members outside of their home departments.
  • A faculty member serving as the advisor of a student not in the advisor’s home department must meet the graduate faculty standards of the host department.
  • Both the home and the host departments must agree that the faculty member has the expertise to guide the student’s research.
  • All approvals are mandatory. If anyone objects, the proposal cannot go forward.
  • The procedures will apply among all academic units across the university.
  • Precedent is not acceptable as justification for trying to accomplish these ends in some way other than as described herein.

The student’s program of study must be approved by both the student’s home department and the host department. Progress will be jointly assessed by the student’s home department and the advisory chair’s home department. The home department will enter the evaluations in AIM. The student is not expected to simultaneously meet all requirements of all departments. Rather, it must be recognized that the study is interdisciplinary. Achieving this approval will require the student to submit persuasive justification for the changes from the host department’s regular degree requirements. The student must convince the host department that he/she possesses additional breadth and depth from his/her home department that will compensate for the possible lack of breadth and depth relevant to the host department. The host department, in conjunction with the student’s home department, may need to compose a special qualifying exam for the interdisciplinary student.

Administrative Issues

Allowing students and faculty to function outside their own departments can have consequences that are difficult to predict. To ensure compatibility and accountability, approvals must be obtained for all concerned parties.

  • The faculty home department will have to consider the workload of the faculty member just as they would when making an additional assignment for a student in their own department.
  • The host department does not assume any of the valuation of a hosted faculty member for rank and status, salary, etc.
  • The host department does not assume any of the compensation of a hosted faculty member.
  • The involved departments will have to agree up front who will cover research costs, student funding, and which department will receive the student count for Graduate Studies/college funding allocations.
  • The two college deans may use the signature line just for information, or they may impose any kind of criteria they wish.



Eligibility and Requirements

Upon receipt of an official letter of acceptance from Graduate Studies, new graduate students are eligible to register. Because acceptance is granted for a specific semester, to maintain graduate status and registration eligibility, new students must register for a minimum of 2.0 credit hours in the first semester or term for which they have been admitted or the acceptance is forfeited. Departments may not defer an applicant’s acceptance to a subsequent semester or term. New students who do not register for their first semester and wish to enroll in a subsequent semester will need to reapply and pay the application fee. Acceptance in one semester or term does not guarantee acceptance in a subsequent semester or term.

Continuing graduate students are eligible to register if they have fulfilled the minimum registration requirement (6.0 credit hours per year) in the preceding academic year. Once enrolled, a graduate student is eligible to register for subsequent semesters if the following requirements are met:

  • The student has fulfilled the minimum registration requirement (6.0 credit hours with acceptable grades per academic year).
  • The student has submitted a Program of Study as required: master’s students are to submit by the third week of the second semester after admission, doctoral students by the third week of the beginning of the second year.
  • Graduate Studies has received an official transcript showing that the required prerequisite degree has been conferred.
  • The student’s time limit has not expired.
  • The student has not voluntarily withdrawn or been terminated by the department and is making satisfactory progress toward degree completion and has not had two unacceptable evaluations in succession.
  • The student has submitted an annual continuing ecclesiastical endorsement.
  • The student has complied with the BYU Honor Code and is cleared by the Honor Code Office.
  • The student has not completed the current degree program.


Graduate Student Enrollment in Free Religion Courses

Graduate students are eligible to attend religion courses on a space-available basis without incurring any additional tuition costs. To qualify for this privilege, please do not formally register for a religion course. If a student formally registers, tuition will be assessed.  Students complete Graduate Request for No-Cost/ No Credit Religion Course: ADV Form 6 (https://gradstudies.byu.edu/file/adv-form-6). Note: No credits are earned nor grades received. Details about this privilege are available from Graduate Studies, 105 FPH, (801) 422-4091.

Minimum Registration Requirement

To retain active status and to qualify for subsequent registration, graduate students must register for and receive acceptable grades in at least six credit hours each academic year. (D, E, W, NS, and I grades do not count towards the minimum registration requirement, nor do audit or independent study courses.) Students who are admitted to begin graduate studies in the middle of an academic year or who are graduating must fulfill partial minimum registration requirements as listed below:

  • Students who are admitted to begin graduate study in the winter semester are required to register for and receive acceptable grades for at least 4 credit hours over the remaining course of the academic year (winter, spring, and summer).
  • Students who are admitted to begin graduate study in the spring or summer term are required to register for and receive acceptable grades for at least 2 credit hours for the term for which they are admitted to begin.
  • Thereafter, all students are required to register for and receive acceptable grades for at least 6 credit hours over the course of the full academic year (fall, winter, spring, and summer).
  • Students are required to register for and receive acceptable grades in at least 2 credit hours per semester and 2 credit hours over the course of the spring and summer terms during any period in which they are using university facilities (including faculty time).
  • Students must be registered for a minimum of 2 credit hours when they defend and graduate:
    Fall 2 hours
    Winter 2 hours
    Spring 2 hours

    1 hour spring and 1 hour summer


    2 hours spring


    2 hours summer

  • Students who apply for graduation in August and are unable to defend until Fall will be changed to a December diploma and will need to meet the sixhour requirement for the previous academic year as well as the two hours required to defend and graduate in the fall.

Students who do not fulfill the minimum registration requirements are dropped from their graduate programs; they lose their graduate status and must apply for readmission if they decide to complete their graduate degree (see Application to Resume Graduate Studies).

In January, Graduate Studies sends a report to each department listing students who have not met the yearly minimum registration requirement after Winter Semester registration. Students on this list must register for the additional credits needed before the end of Summer Term in order to avoid being dropped from their program. Each year in July a report is sent to every graduate department notifying them of students who have been dropped for failure to meet the minimum registration requirement. Departments have ten days to notify Graduate Studies of any errors before students are notified by email of minimum registration problems. Once a student is dropped, he or she loses graduate student status.

Graduate students from the United States and international students who are permanent U.S. residents are required to register for at least 2.0 credit hours during any semester or term in which they use any university facilities, consult with faculty, or take comprehensive oral or written examinations. The number of graduate credit hours for which they register must, in the judgment of the faculty advisor, accurately reflect the student’s involvement in graduate study and use of university resources such as libraries, laboratories, and computer facilities. In no case will the registration be for fewer than 2.0 credit hours per semester.

International students must register for at least 9.0 credit hours in both Fall and Winter Semesters to fulfill U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) requirements. Questions should be directed to International Services Office.


Graduate Studies Tuition Requirement

Full Time Requirement

Graduate students are required to pay a minimum of the equivalent of two full-time semesters of graduate tuition. Graduate tuition is calculated from the semester of acceptance into the graduate program. (Students in integrated programs must pay graduate tuition for the equivalent of two full-time semesters.)

The student is responsible for complying with any registration requirements established by sponsoring agents for student loans, loan payment deferrals, assistantships, internships, scholarships, and awards. U.S. graduate students receiving assistantships, awards, or internships through BYU must register for at least 2.0 credit hours per semester or for 1.0 credit hour per term. Departmental requirements may exceed these minimums. International students must register for at least 9 semester hours each fall and winter regardless of assistantships, awards or internships.

Only degree-seeking students enrolled in day school are eligible for short-term BYU tuition loans. Since the amount borrowed is applied directly toward the cost of tuition, no minimum level of enrollment is required.

Students should consult with the Financial Aid Office for information on credit hour requirements for obtaining and deferring federal student loans. Only degree-seeking students who are making satisfactory academic progress (SAP) will be eligible for federal financial assistance. The Financial Aid Office is required by federal regulations to evaluate a student’s performance to ensure that the student will be able to graduate within the maximum allotted time. See https://financialaid.byu.edu/satisfactory-academic-progress-sap for the complete SAP Policy. Evaluations must be recorded on ADV12; failure to enter evaluations may result in the student being turned down for federal financial aid.

Enrollment Status (Full-time, Half-time etc.)

  • Full-time U.S. citizens and permanent residents: To be considered full-time for tuition purposes, students who are U.S. citizens or permanent residents must register for at least 8.5 credit hours in both fall and winter semesters or at least 4.5 credit hours in a term.
  • Full-time international students: International students are required to be registered as full-time students. To be considered full-time for tuition and immigration purposes, international students must register for at least 9.0 credit hours in both fall and winter semesters or at least 4.5 credit hours in a term.
  • Half-time U.S. citizens and permanent residents: A student enrolled in between 4.5 hours and 8.0 hours fall or winter semester or between 2.5 hours and 4.0 credit hours a term is considered a half-time student.
  • Graduate students may request verification of their enrollment status from the Records Office, B-150 ASB.


Eligibility for Campus Services

Campus privileges are extended to part-time graduate students  (those registered for at least 2.0 credit hours per semester or 1.0 credit hour per term), including campus privileges normally limited to full-time undergraduate students: for example, on-campus employment, student housing, student insurance, intramurals, use of physical education facilities, graduate parking permits, discount admission to sporting and cultural events, counseling services, and UTA bus pass.

Petition for Graduate Full-Time Status

Part-time graduate students who are enrolled for at least 2.0 hours of acceptable credit per semester or one hour per term can be certified by their department as being engaged full-time in pursuit of their degree and can petition for graduate full-time status using ADV Form 2a (https://gradstudies.byu.edu/file/adv-form-2a). Requests for such an exception are submitted to Graduate Studies.

Departments determine whether a student is to be certified as engaged full time in pursuit of a degree. In making this judgment, departments must be rigorous and consistent in the criteria they use, since this information determines a student’s eligibility for initiating loans and deferring payments on existing student loans. Students must have an approved committee and Program of Study. Students are not granted full-time status certification for semesters in advance. Full time pursuit of a degree means the student is devoting 40 or more hours per week to fulfilling graduate degree requirements during the semester in question. A student’s full-time load may include any combination of courses, assistantships, research, or special studies. Petitions for Graduate Full-time Status: ADV Form 2a, (https://gradstudies.byu.edu/file/adv-form-2a) are submitted to Graduate Studies. Valid reasons for a student registering for fewer than 8.5 credit hours per semester or 4.5 credit hours per term and petitioning for full-time status include the following:

  • The student has completed all the required course work for the degree and is working full-time on the dissertation, thesis, project, or internship and is enrolled for at least 2.0 hours of acceptable credit per semester or 1.0 hour per term. Acceptable credit would be dissertation hours (799R), thesis hours (699R), project hours (698R), research hours (697R and 797R), or internship hours (multiple designations) OR
  • The department limits the student’s enrollment to less than full time because of a required TA/RA assignment. The combination of TA/RA assignment and registration must be equivalent to a full-time load, e.g. half-time assistantship plus 6 credit hours of registration per semester (acceptable credit could be anything listed on the student’s program of study).

Students who are employed full time, are newly admitted (unless the department limits enrollment), or are international students on F-1 or J-1 visas and do not have the approval of International Services are not eligible.


Academic Standards

Curriculum and Course Work

Graduate curricula should be well designed and up to date, leading to strong preparation of students. Departments should offer enough courses to support a full graduate program, and not list courses that are “on the books” but rarely taught. The curriculum should be appropriate for the preparation and specialties of the faculty and should reflect leadership in the discipline. The classroom experience should be qualitatively different from courses in the undergraduate program. Departments should not double-list courses by undergraduate and graduate numbers (such as 400 and 600) and should avoid all practices that dilute the classroom experience for graduate students. A master’s Program of Study should consist largely of 600 level courses while doctoral programs should consist largely of 600 and 700 level courses.

The following uses for a 500 level course are approved:

  • As graduate introductory, foundation, or elective courses.
  • As courses that require a 400 level prerequisite.
  • As advanced undergraduate courses that must exceed upper-division (300499) level.
  • As foundational or introductory post-baccalaureate courses leading to professional certification or licensure.
  • As courses essential to programs that bridge between five-year undergraduate programs and graduate foundation studies.

The following uses for a 500 level course are inappropriate:

  • For cross listing of similar undergraduate and graduate courses.
  • For mixing graduate and undergraduate students because of inadequate department resources.
  • For permitting a small class environment for undergraduate-level mentoring.
  • For advanced graduate-level courses.

Departments are expected to enrich their graduate curriculum with presentations by visiting lecturers, with colloquia, and with other opportunities for learning outside the regular curriculum, even within the disciplines of other departments.

Every graduate course should have a course outline and syllabus in which the instructor’s expectations are clearly stated and the course description is comprehensive and clear. Courses are to require extensive writing assignments of substance and consequence that train students to think critically. Student papers should adhere to high standards of composition, and they should be carefully criticized and assessed, sometimes by both instructor and peers. All courses, even those considered to be applied courses, should have a strong theoretical foundation based on current research. They should require investigation beyond classroom experiences and textbooks. Where possible, they should include demanding essay examinations. Graduate course grades should accurately reflect student achievement and should not be inflated. It is recognized, however, that graduate courses are usually graded on the basis of competency rather than on a competitive model.

Credits earned through directed readings, independent or off-campus projects, or employment-related projects should be kept to a minimum; such courses must be approved by the department and should be as rigorous and demanding as regular courses. For credit to be applied the instructor and student formulate an agreement of requirements and expectations and file that “contract” with the department office. The student will receive credit only when the agreement has been fulfilled.

Grade-Point Average (GPA) Requirements

Graduate students whose Program of Study GPA falls below 3.0 (prerequisite and skill courses exempt) will not be allowed to graduate and may be dismissed from their graduate programs. Graduate faculty should consult with students whose grades frequently fall in the C range or below about the advisability of continuing graduate study. No D credit may apply toward a graduate degree.


Petition for Exception

The Petition for Exception: OGS Form 2 (https://gradstudies.byu.edu/file/ogs-form-2) allows departments to request for graduate students an exception to university graduate study policies regarding any part of the graduate program, including credit policies, committee composition, and degree requirements. The petition must be prepared by the student’s graduate committee chair and be endorsed by the graduate coordinator, department chair, and college dean before it is submitted to Graduate Studies. The petition should include a detailed explanation of the exception requested and reasons for the department’s support of the request.

Petitions to extend the time limit for degree completion beyond one year must be accompanied by a contract for completion of the student’s remaining requirements. This contract must include a specific time line developed by the student and the student’s committee and be signed by all of them. Petitions without a contract for completion will not be considered.

A department petition to include an individual without graduate faculty status on a committee must be accompanied by the individual’s curriculum vita. It is also important to include why the expertise of an individual would be beneficial to the dissertation, thesis, or project.

Electronic Signatures (Updated Aug. 2012)

Graduate Studies will accept electronic signatures on the majority of our forms if the signatures are obtained using EchoSign.

EchoSign, a feature available for anyone using Adobe, offers an easily managed process to insert the required name, and then email that person for their signature on any PDF document.  The EchoSign product is secure, and the signature is inserted into the PDF of the document of choice.  It can be sent to multiple individuals for multiple signatures. The fully signed document can be printed and sent to Graduate Studies and these electronic signatures are considered legal and binding.

All signatures must be on one document, regardless if an electronic signature is used in conjunction with original signatures.

There are a few forms where the electronic signature is NOT allowed:

  • GS Form 8 (Transfer Release)
  • GS Form 10 (GS Request for DS 2019)


Information Relevant to All Graduating Students

Before applying for graduation, a graduate student should have completed all course work on his or her approved Program of Study or be currently registered for the remaining courses. During the final semester and/or the semester of final oral and written examinations, a graduate student must register for at least 2.0 credit hours. In special cases, students may pay an equivalent registration fee through Graduate Studies for 2.0 credit hours. Audit and independent study credits are not acceptable. Students who miss the graduation deadlines for any given semester must register for at least 2 hours (preferably project, thesis, dissertation, or internship credit) or pay the equivalent minimum registration fee and will graduate the following semester.

The graduate committee chair (or advisor) should work closely with students as they prepare to complete the final requirements for their degree and apply for graduation. Missed deadlines and misunderstandings about final requirements can lead to serious delays in graduation plans. The graduate committee chair should periodically check the student’s record to see what progress is being made and what help may be needed.

All graduate students must have a valid ecclesiastical endorsement to apply for graduation. Graduate students should apply for graduation by the deadlines listed in the Graduation Deadlines for Graduate Students found on the Graduate Studies website: (https://gradstudies.byu.edu/page/adv-form-8). Applications received after the deadlines will be processed for the next graduation. All students must apply online in AIM (GRADAPP). After the departments have accepted the graduation information in AIM, Graduate Studies will instruct students by email to review their progress report. Students should report any discrepancies to their departments. Students who do not meet graduation deadlines will be withdrawn from graduation and must reapply.

Comprehensive Examinations

Department comprehensive and oral examinations are expected to be demanding and fair. They should require currency in the field, thorough analysis of the questions or problems posed, and synthesis of knowledge in discipline-all at a level appropriate for the degree to be awarded. They should also require skill in expression.

Departments should provide published and well-publicized criteria for what constitutes acceptable performance on department oral and comprehensive examinations. The purpose, format, range of content, and nature of examinations should be described. Departments are expected to apply consistent and rigorous standards in evaluating examinations. Departments are required to establish a mechanism for providing feedback and a clear policy on retaking failed comprehensive examinations.

Master’s Students

Departments may require students to take an oral exam or master’s coursework exam. The examination is normally given when the student has completed the required coursework for the degree. If a student has a declared minor, it is expected that the examination will include subject matter from the minor field. Some master’s degree programs require comprehensive exams but not theses.

Doctoral Students

Doctoral students must pass a written comprehensive examination or qualifying experience in their field under direction of the major department. Departments determine whether a written/oral comprehensive exam or qualifying experience assesses doctoral student competency and preparation for degree completion. In the case of a declared minor, it is expected that the examination or qualifying experience will also include subject matter from the minor field.

Commencement, Convocation, and Diplomas

All candidates for graduation are invited to participate in the university’s commencement and convocation exercises in either April or August. (Students completing degrees in December are invited to participate in the following April commencement activities; students completing degrees in June are invited to participate in August commencement.) Doctoral candidates are hooded and master’s candidates are recognized in their respective college convocation exercises. No honor designations are given upon conferral of advanced degrees. Various honor societies, however, may nominate graduate students for membership. Diplomas are mailed to graduates six to eight weeks after graduation. The degree is recorded on the student’s official transcript within one month after graduation. For students who have completed all of their course work but will not receive their degree until the next graduation, a Letter of Completion may be requested from Graduate Studies to certify to an employer or an external institution that they have completed all degree requirements and the degree will be conferred.

In order to receive an official university seal, the letter must be signed by the Dean of Graduate Studies or the University Registrar.

Information Relevant to Graduating Students in Dissertation or Thesis Programs

Every department is expected to require a culminating experience of its graduate students, regardless of whether the student is in a traditional or applied program. The culminating experience is usually a research-based dissertation or thesis, but it may be a project or report in a master’s program.

Excellence in Dissertations, Theses, and Projects (Updated April 2011)

Students should take their department’s course in research methodology before they begin the culminating writing experience. The student’s graduate committee should carefully direct the culminating writing experience, including the research design, the prospectus preparation, the research itself, and the preparation of the written document. The topic should be one of consequence that makes substantial contributions to some aspect of the discipline, and one that the graduate committee chair is well prepared to direct. The prospectus is a critical aspect of the student’s project that precedes intensive research; careful departmental review of the prospectus should eliminate any major problems. By their excellence and uniqueness, these research and writing experiences impressively demonstrate the achievements, knowledge, and skills of the students at the time the graduate degree is completed. The final product should be well written and should lead directly to a publishable piece of work. Faculty mentors should encourage students to publish their work and should assist in that effort. The Dean of Graduate Studies, as part of the university review of academic programs, selects dissertations, theses, and projects or creative works for external review.

Minimum Standards for Submitting Dissertations and Theses (ADV Form 11)

Each graduate program is responsible for determining a style guide for students to use as they prepare their dissertations or theses. Minimum format requirements for the final dissertation or thesis document, including title page, abstract, etc. as well as university guidelines are provided in ADV Form 11 (https://gradstudies.byu.edu/file/adv-form-11). All dissertations or theses must meet the following minimum university format standards:

  • Fonts are to be black and of a standard 12 point size, (10 or 11 for tables and figures), in a serif face such as Times Roman or Palatino.
  • Margins are to be 1 inch on all sides.
  • The style guide approved in the department must be followed. The format must be consistent and correct throughout.
  • Pages are to be correctly paginated. Preliminary pages are to be numbered in Roman numerals, starting with i. The body of the work should be numbered with Arabic numerals beginning with 1. All pages are to be numbered consecutively in the body and the appendix (1a, 10c, etc. are not allowed). 
  • The standard university format should be followed for title page, abstract, and acknowledgments.

The department may establish its own standards and guidelines beyond the university minimums regarding format. The department should select a standard style (i.e., Turabian, MLA, or APA) and require that students consistently follow it.

Students writing dissertations or theses need to be informed early of the university’s style requirements in addition to the department’s requirements. The graduate committee chair has particular responsibility for assuring that the following are completed correctly:

  • The final work’s format, citations, and bibliographic style are consistent and acceptable.
  • Illustrative materials including figures, tables, and charts are in proper places and formatted correctly.
  • The final manuscript is satisfactory to the graduate committee and ready for submission to the university library as an ETD.
  • All fonts should be embedded in the pdf.
  • All ETDs must have bookmarks.

The oral defense should be scheduled to allow time for making corrections to the work after the defense and before the deadline for submitting the final document as an ETD. After the defense of the dissertation or thesis followed by any required content revisions, the final version of the document is submitted as an ETD for review by the department, the college, and Graduate Studies. All theses and dissertations are required to be submitted as an ETD. Department committee chairs or coordinators may request a bound copy and students may also desire personal bound copies. Any bound copies may be ordered by using the BYU Print and Mail's Gradworks Online: (https://gradworksonline.com). In addition, doctoral students are responsible for submitting their dissertation electronically to UMI/Proquest. Doctoral students may choose to pay a fee to have UMI register the copyright of their dissertation.

Final Oral Examination (Defense)

The final oral examination (defense of the dissertation or thesis) must be scheduled by the department in the AIM system at least two weeks in advance. Students should be reminded of this deadline by their graduate committee chair as their work nears completion. Final examinations may not be held during the interim periods between semesters or terms. All members of the BYU academic community are invited to attend the final oral examination, but only members of the student’s graduate committee may question the candidate and vote on his or her performance. Examination questions are to be carefully framed to require a grasp of discipline essentials and the ability to analyze and synthesize.

The oral examination or defense of the thesis, dissertation, performance, or other culminating product is an important part of graduate education. Accordingly, the Principles and Characteristics of Graduate Education note that exams should be “demanding and fair. They require currency in the field, thorough analysis of the questions or problems posed, and synthesis of knowledge in the discipline, all at a level appropriate for the degree to be awarded” (p.8). In order for students  to pass the final defense/exam, (with or without qualifications) they must demonstrate a sound understanding of their work and its implications.

Programs are encouraged to help students prepare for the defense of the culminating experience by communicating expectations for student performance. Such expectations might include the following:

  1. A well thought-out, well-organized, cogent summary of the student’s work including:
    1. An explanation of how the current work relates to the student’s discipline.
    2. The rationale behind the project in the context of available literature.
    3. If the student has been part of a research team or lab,an explanation of the student’s intellectual contribution to the project and a description of how the student’s work fits into the broader research conducted in this lab.
    4. The questions or issues the current work has designed to address.
    5. The way the design, method, and/or approach addressed those questions.
    6. The analysis of data gathered.
    7. The results, outcomes, final products, or performance.
  2. An interpretation of results, findings, contributions, insights, andconclusions and their significance. What does this work add to existing knowledge?
  3. A discussion of implications the work suggests for future research or creative endeavor.
  4. A discussion of any applied or clinical implications suggested by the work.
  5. Thoughtful, well-founded responses to all questions the committeemembers might ask.

The student and all committee members must be present for the defense. Departments may request accommodations for committee members (not committee chairs or students) under the following circumstances:

  1. A member of the graduate student’s committee is employed at another university, and the student has worked in that professor’s lab/studio during the graduate program. An accommodation may be requested for the committee member to participate in the defense via video conferencing.
  2. A committee member has left the university during the student’s program but has continued to work actively with the committee and the student. An accommodation may be requested for the committee member to participate in the defense via video conferencing.

Accommodations require the approval of the student’s department, the college dean, and the graduate dean.

The graduate committee may vote to pass, pass with qualification, recess, or fail the student.

If the decision is to pass, no further work is required.

If the decision is to pass with qualification, the committee may require minor revisions of the dissertation or thesis or may request that the candidate strengthen his or her preparation in subject matter areas, or both. When these qualifications are cleared and the committee chair has properly recorded the clearance in AIM, the student is judged to have passed the examination.

If two or more examiners vote to recess, the examination is recessed. The committee will provide a detailed summary to the student, the department and to Graduate Studies of the expectations for improvement in the subject matter, and/ or changes required in the dissertation or thesis before the examination will be reconvened. The original of the signed ADV Form 10 must be sent to Graduate Studies. With the approval of the Graduate Committee, the candidate may schedule a second and final examination. The new examination cannot be held sooner than a month after the recessed examination.

If two or more examiners vote to fail, the examination is failed and the graduate degree program of the student is terminated. Because examination results of recess or fail may lead to termination of graduate status, the department is required to submit ADV Form 10 (Report of Committee Action for Final Oral Examination) to Graduate Studies including the reasons for the decision.

Electronic Theses and Dissertations (ETDs)

Electronic theses and dissertations (ETDs) are electronic documents that represent the culminating research of a graduate student. ETDs require no library shelf space and are available to any interested persons through Internet access. ETDs enable the university to fulfill its responsibility of recording and archiving theses and dissertations for a wide audience. All graduate students must submit their thesis or dissertation electronically. Students should refer to the ETD website (http://etd.lib.byu.edu/) for detailed information on the electronic submission standards.

ETD Creation

Students submit their theses or dissertations as a single PDF (portable document format) file. Typically, the PDF files are generated using Adobe Acrobat software (not Reader), which retains all formatting information and allows the addition of multimedia objects. Documents prepared with many common software programs and document preparation systems, Microsoft Word, WordPerfect, TeX, LaTeX, and other applications that can output to a print file (postscript) can be easily converted to PDF files.

ETD Copyright and Intellectual Property Issues

One of the important aims of the ETD policy is to properly manage intellectual property rights associated with research performed at BYU. This is accomplished by: (1) documenting the student author’s intellectual property rights by depositing his or her work in BYU’s digital depository and (2) determining whether the student’s work is released a) immediately to the public, b) delayed for one year, or c) held in “secured access” status for a specified period of time to acquire patent or other rights.

ETD Access

ETDs will be available worldwide using the following methods:

  • Accessed on the Internet through BYU’s collection with ability to link directly to a specific ETD.
  • Library catalog searches to find theses or dissertations by subject, title, or author and link directly to them.
  • Search engines that allow full-text searching for specific ETDs.
  • Utilizing the Networked Digital Library of Theses and Dissertations.
  • Dissertation abstracts available electronically through UMI Dissertation Publishing.

Students may decide how widely their theses and dissertations will be made available. In consultation with faculty, students should consider patent, publishing, and other proprietary issues as they make their decisions. BYU allows three levels of access:

  • Immediate Release allows worldwide access to the entire work through the  Worldwide Web; it is strongly recommended.
  • Delayed Release postpones the release of the entire work for up to one year for publication or other reasons. After the one year delay, the work will be  automatically released for worldwide access.
  • Secured Access secures the thesis or dissertation for patent purposes or export controls. At the end of the secured period, the ETD will be released for worldwide access. The secured access option requires the approval of the Dean of Graduate Studies.
  • Creative Work Embargo option is only available for English Creative Writing MFA students who wish to delay release for a period longer than one year. This option requires approval of your graduate coordinator.

Grade Change Authorizations

Graduate students typically take dissertation or thesis credits (799R, 699R, or 698R) throughout their graduate program. Nevertheless, until the dissertation or thesis has been successfully defended, only a T (course work in progress) grade is assigned for these credits. After the student successfully defends the dissertation or thesis and clears any qualifications, the faculty or department enter P(s) in the previous online grade roll(s) for 799R (dissertation) or 699R (thesis).

Termination of Graduate Status

A student’s graduate status may be terminated for the following reasons:


  • Failure to satisfactorily complete the conditions of acceptance.
  • Failure to fulfill the university’s minimum registration requirement.
  • A request to withdraw (with the intent to pursue a degree at another university, for personal reasons, or in response to department recommendation).
  • Two consecutive unacceptable evaluations.
  • Failure to make what the department or the university deems to be satisfactory progress toward a graduate degree.
  • Failure on the departmental comprehensive examination.
  • Failure on the final oral examination (defense of dissertation or thesis).
  • Failure to comply with the time limit (five years for master’s, eight years for doctoral).

A student dismissed or facing dismissal for academic reasons may request review of termination or impending termination. Such requests should be submitted in writing to the department chair. A student who wishes further consideration may request review by the college dean. Ultimately, a final request for review may be made to the Dean of Graduate Studies who may appoint a committee to review the matter. All requests for review of termination must be initiated within one year of the semester in which the termination takes place. For more information, refer to the Graduate Student Academic Grievance Policy.



When a student withdraws from a program or the department wishes to terminate the student’s program, the department should submit a Departmental Request to Expire (Terminate) Graduate Status: ADV Form 7 (https://gradstudies.byu.edu/file/adv-form-7).

This notifies Graduate Studies to expire the student’s graduate status.

The ADV Form 7 allows the department to indicate how the student’s record should officially show the withdrawal. Checking Academic Suspension will cause a suspension notice to be placed on the student’s transcript, preventing the student from being readmitted to BYU. The other three withdrawal categories do not affect the student’s transcript, and the student may be considered for readmission.

The ADV Form 7 need not be submitted in any of the following circumstances:

  • No Show: The student fails to register for 2.0 credit hours the first semester of admission.
  • Minimum Registration Requirement: The student registers for fewer than 6.0 credit hours in an academic year.
  • Time Limit for Program Completion: The student fails to complete the degree within the specified time limit.


If graduate students need to discontinue from all classes in a semester or term, they must initiate that process at the Discontinuance Office (B-150 ASB). These students will need to meet the minimum six hour registration requirement for the academic year or the two hour registration requirement if they defend or graduate within that same academic year. However, if they discontinue in a semester or term and still meet the above requirements, they should contact Graduate Studies to see if they are eligible to register.

Policy on Granting Graduate Degrees Posthumously

In some cases a graduate degree may be awarded posthumously at the request of the student’s family and the department. The general principle underlying the awarding of posthumous degrees is that the student had completed most program requirements at the time of death. The following conditions should apply:

  1. The graduate student had completed all coursework requirements and had been awarded a “pass” or “pass with qualifications” in the defense of the culminating graduate product (e.g., thesis, project, or dissertation).
  2. In a non-thesis program the student had completed all coursework and applied experiences (practicum, internships) with the exception of a few requirements in the last semester of study.

Procedure:  Requests for awarding a degree posthumously must come from the student’s academic department to the college dean.  The college dean makes a recommendation to the graduate dean, who makes a recommendation to the AVPs.

Program and Curricular Review

Graduate Program Reviews and Graduate Curriculum Information

All graduate programs are expected to follow precepts described in the pamphlet entitled Principles and Characteristics of Graduate Education, Brigham Young University. Graduate programs are reviewed every six or seven years as part of the department/unit review conducted by the Office of Planning and Assessment. The review process involves a self-study and a university-level evaluation conducted by an internal review team and an external reviewer from within the discipline. A sampling of graduate student works (dissertations, theses, projects, performances, etc.) is also submitted for external review.

Review teams are asked to address the following questions:

  1. Does the program have a clear definition of purpose in line with the university and department missions? Is this purpose evident in both the planned programs and the theoretical orientation of the program?
  2. Does the program include sufficient numbers of qualified graduate faculty who mentor students effectively? Are faculty members productive scholars with research/creative programs into which they can involve graduate students?
  3. Does the department maintain high academic standards as evidenced by admissions standards and practices; curriculum and course work; student dissertations, theses, and projects; and comprehensive and oral examinations? Are the curriculum and program requirements appropriate, current, and clearly graduate level? 
  4. Are procedures for program governance and student advisement well defined, clearly articulated, and helpful? Is student progress monitored so that students complete their degrees in a timely fashion? 
  5. Are there sufficient resources to support the graduate program? Consider faculty expertise, faculty availability, research support, student funding, library resources, outside funding, and space. 


Requesting Curriculum and Program Changes

Departments may submit proposals for curriculum changes to their college curriculum representative at any time, but they should consider the timing of the change in relation to the admissions cycle. Such changes may include addition, deletion, or alteration of any of the course offerings. The college curriculum representative in turn submits the proposal to the university’s Curriculum Committee. The Curriculum Committee, which consists of representatives from all colleges on campus, is responsible for approving all changes in both undergraduate and graduate curricula.

Graduate program changes (e.g., changes to core requirements, program hours, etc.) and proposals for new programs require that a proposal be submitted to the Dean of Graduate Studies. Such proposals may be submitted at any time during the academic year. The proposal is first approved by the Graduate Council, then directed to the Associate Academic Vice President who will present it to the Academic Vice President, the President’s Council, and in some cases the Church Commissioner of Education and the Board of Trustees.

Graduate Academic Grievance Policy

Despite the well-meaning efforts of students and faculty, there may be occasions when a graduate student feels that his or her work has been unfairly or inadequately evaluated. Usually such differences can be amicably resolved between the student and faculty member. The following procedures are designed to encourage satisfactory resolution of academic grievances with a minimum of formal procedure.

The grievance must be initiated by the graduate student no later than one year from the last day of the examination period of the semester in which the alleged unfair or inadequate evaluation occurred.

The graduate student should initially address the grievance to the involved faculty member for review and resolution. If for any reason the faculty member is unavailable or the student believes the matter will not be fairly dealt with or may result in retribution, the student may direct the grievance to the department chair. If there is no department chair, the grievance shall be directed to the graduate coordinator or other person designated by the dean of the college to consider such matters (hereinafter referred to as the department chair). The faculty member or department chair shall have the right to consult others regarding the matter as reasonable, with due regard for the graduate student’s right to privacy under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act.

If the grievance is originated with the faculty member and is not resolved satisfactorily, the student may submit a written request for review to the department chair. Decisions of the department chair, including matters originated with the department chair, shall be given in writing to both the student and the faculty member within 45 days of the student’s written request for review. If no further request for review is taken, as described in the following paragraph, the decision of the department chair will be implemented.

If the matter is not resolved to the student’s satisfaction by the department chair, the student may submit a written request for review to the dean of the college or school, outlining the grievance, explaining its disposition, and setting forth facts supporting the student’s request. The request for review must be made within 45 days of the date of the written disposition by the department chair. The college dean will conduct a review and will communicate his/her decision in writing to the student and to the department chair within 30 days of receipt of the graduate student’s request for review.

If the matter is not resolved to the graduate student’s satisfaction by the college dean, and it involves terminating the student from the graduate program, the student may submit a written request for review to the Dean of Graduate Studies. The written request for review should contain an outline of the grievance and its disposition and should set forth facts supporting the student’s request for review. The request for review must be made within 45 days of the date of the written disposition by the college dean.

The Dean of Graduate Studies will convene a formal administrative review of matters that have not been resolved at the department or college level if terminating a graduate student from his/her graduate program is involved. Following the proceeding, which takes place under “Administrative Proceeding Format” as described below, the review panel will deliberate in a closed session and make a formal recommendation to the Dean of Graduate Studies, whose decision is final and cannot be appealed. A member of the Graduate Council chairs the administrative review and may ask questions but is not a voting member of the three-person review panel. Review panel members will consist of two graduate faculty members and one graduate student from departments outside that of the graduate student requesting the review. Review panel members will be appointed by the Dean of Graduate Studies.


Administrative Proceeding Format

The format for an administrative proceeding is as follows:

  1. Chair’s introduction, summary of issues, and process overview.
  2. Graduate student’s (grievant’s) presentation of issues (15 minutes maximum).
  3. Department representative’s presentation of issues (15 minutes maximum).
  4. Optional presentation by witnesses (limited to three per side and a maximum of 15 minutes per side).
  5. Graduate student’s rebuttal (limited to 10 minutes).
  6. Questions by panel members.
  7. Opportunity for the department representative and the grievant to make a final statement (limited to 5 minutes), grievant following the department representatives.
  8. Dismissal of presenters and witnesses.
  9. Deliberation by panel members.
  10. Written recommendations to the Dean of Graduate Studies (within 30 calendar days, unless extended by the panel by written notification to the Dean of Graduate Studies and to the grievant and the department).
  11. Written decision by the Dean of Graduate Studies (within 30 days of receipt of the written recommendation of the panel, unless extended by the Dean of Graduate Studies with written notice of the extension to all parties).


Preparation for the Administrative Proceeding

All materials, including a list of witnesses with a short summary of the content of their presentations and a short statement (not to exceed two pages) of the issues and facts to be considered by the review panel, must be submitted to Graduate Studies at least two weeks (14 days) in advance of the administrative review. Materials will then be distributed to the grievant(s), to the chair of the department against which the grievance has been filed, and to the members of the review panel. Thereafter, if any of the parties wish to have additional materials or witnesses considered by members of the review panel, such materials or witness names must be received by Graduate Studies no later that one week in advance of the administrative review, at which time all materials will be distributed to the parties as well as to the members of the review panel.

Graduate Studies will pay for reasonable reproduction costs, but the cost of reproducing packets in excess of 50 pages will be charged to the submitting party (graduate student or department). No audio/visual equipment will be allowed at the administrative review unless a written request for equipment is received by Graduate Studies at least one week before the scheduled date of the administrative review. The requesting party is responsible for providing the requested audio/ visual equipment.

The chair of the review panel may, at his or her discretion, convene a planning meeting with the department representative and the grievant to discuss the material and witnesses submitted, in order to expedite the review by eliminating redundant and irrelevant information and by defining the precise issues that will be considered by the panel.

Presentation of the issues should be concise and relevant. The chair of the review panel shall be responsible for conducting the administrative review and making decisions regarding applicable procedures. The points of dispute may be summarized or illustrated by anecdote. Experience suggests that the best approach is to carefully tailor the formal presentation to the pertinent issues and to allow the panel members time for questions.


Attendance at the Administrative Proceeding

Attorneys are not allowed to attend at any point in the review process. The grievant, however, may bring one or two additional persons to the administrative review for support and counsel. The grievant will be solely responsible for his or her presentation. The review panel described in this document operates as part of an academic administrative review, not a judicial proceeding. The graduate student must notify Graduate Studies, in writing, at least two weeks before the scheduled date of the administrative review if he/she wishes to have one or two additional persons present. The presence of these additional person(s) does not change the proceeding, as they will not be able to examine witnesses, ask questions, advocate, or otherwise take part.


Honor Code Violations

Honor Code violations are handled through the Honor Code Office and are not subject to the same procedures as academic grievances. For more information regarding Honor Code policies and procedures, contact the Honor Code Office.

Records Management and Retention

Graduate Studies maintains student records pertinent to graduate study at BYU, including original applications and official transcripts received from other universities. All U.S. student application documents are imaged, as are the documents of international students who are admitted. The imaged documents of U.S. applicants not admitted are purged in the second year after the submitted application. The imaged application of students who are admitted but fail to finish their degree are destroyed after ten years. Records of students who are admitted and complete their degree are maintained in imaging for permanent storage.

Departments are encouraged to archive their records of graduate student applications. Each year near the end of July, Graduate Studies provides departments with a Graduate Admissions Clean Out Report, which lists all non-admitted U.S. and international applicants whose records are two years or older. Upon completion of this report, the records are purged from imaging, and departments may purge these applications from their files.

The BYU policy concerning confidentiality of student academic records reflects a reasonable balance between the university’s obligation for the instruction and welfare of the student and the university’s responsibility to society. Every possible effort is made to maintain student academic records in confidence by withholding information from individuals who are not authorized to receive it. Faculty and administrative officers who have a legitimate need to use students’ records will be allowed access as needed without prior permission from the student. Because all student records and reports contain confidential information, it is necessary to shred them. The Confidentiality of Records Policy is detailed in the University Handbook and the BYU Undergraduate Catalog.

Some of the information in this manual was obtained from the BYU Graduate Catalog and the pamphlet entitled Principles and Characteristics of Graduate Education. For information on national policies and standards for graduate study, you may contact the Council of Graduate Schools (CGS), One Dupont Circle, N.W., Suite 230, Washington, DC 20036-1173, or telephone at (202) 331-7157, or visit the CGS website at http://www.cgsnet.org/. CGS publishes numerous handbooks and policy statements relating to various aspects of graduate study.