This chapter contains information for individuals considering graduate study at Louisiana State University, as well as for enrolled students, faculty, and staff.
For prospective students: this chapter provides a guide to LSU’s resources for graduate and professional study, the expertise of the graduate faculty, and other pertinent matters, including application procedures and criteria, graduate assistantships and fellowships, and degree requirements.
For enrolled students, faculty, and staff: this chapter serves as a handbook for graduate study at LSU. The rules and regulations of The Graduate School, as well as detailed descriptions of requirements for advanced degrees, are included.
This Graduate School chapter presents a flexible program of the current graduate educational plans, offerings, and requirements that may be altered from time to time to carry out the purposes and objectives of Louisiana State University. The provisions of this chapter do not constitute an offer for a contract that may be accepted by students through registration and enrollment in the university. The university reserves the right to change any provision, offering, or requirement at any time within the student’s period of study at LSU.
Information on specific degree programs or areas of study is available directly from the department offering the degree. Further information is available online at www.gradschool.lsu.edu. A complete listing of all graduate programs, concentrations and minors is available here.
LSU has developed flexible rules for the composition of advisory committees for master’s and doctoral students, allowing students to work with professors from several departments. It is not possible to get a clear picture of the resources of the university without looking beyond the formal boundaries of the graduate program to which one is applying or in which one is enrolled.
Since some graduate courses are offered in a two- or three-year rotation, persons interested in knowing the specific courses available in a given academic year should request lists of graduate course offerings directly from the departments in which they are interested.
Applicants must be admitted to both The Graduate School and to a specific graduate program. All prospective graduate students must complete the online application that can be found at www.lsu.edu/gradapply.
Some departments require additional information. Details regarding such requirements can be found in the departmental pages herein or at the website for the specific department.
Doctoral research programs are the essential defining feature of a university. LSU’s status as one of the top 70 research universities in the nation and its classification as Research-Extensive by the Carnegie Foundation, depend chiefly on two criteria held to be prime indicators that an institution is a major center for the creation of new knowledge: research funding and doctoral education, both of which ensure the training of future generations of scholars. The synergy between our nationally renowned faculty and our graduate student population helps to keep Louisiana and the nation on the leading edge of discovery.
The Graduate School’s primary purposes are:
Supporting a broad array of graduate degree programs and extensive research opportunities designed to attract, educate, and graduate highly qualified students;
Supporting faculty who are excellent teacher-scholars, nationally competitive in research and creative activities, and who, with staff and students, contribute to solving economic, cultural, environmental, educational, and social challenges via development of new resources.
The Graduate School administers more than 120 graduate degree programs offered at LSU. LSU’s Graduate School was established because the university recognized its obligation to provide an environment for research and inquiry and to make the results of these activities available to the public.
As the state’s center of academic research and advanced studies, The Graduate School administers a more extensive and comprehensive program than any other educational institution in Louisiana.
LSU offers doctoral programs in 50 major fields of study. These programs offer opportunities for advanced training and research in all areas of the sciences, social sciences, and humanities. Master’s degree programs are offered in 74 major fields. These range from Master of Fine Arts degrees in creative writing, studio art, and theatre, to professional degree programs in social work, business administration, and library and information science.
Additional information about specific graduate and professional programs is published in catalogs and brochures that may be obtained from individual departments or schools at the addresses listed in this chapter. This information may also be accessed online through the LSU homepage: www.lsu.edu.
History and Organization
The first awarded graduate degree on record was a master’s degree in civil engineering awarded in 1869. By 1890, 14 master’s degrees had been awarded, and by 1909, 32 individuals had received graduate diplomas. In 1909, the Graduate Department was established; the general supervision of graduate work was vested in a Committee on Graduate Courses. During the period from 1909 to 1931, 439 master’s degrees were awarded.
In 1931, The Graduate School was established, and the first graduate dean, Charles W. Pipkin, was appointed. The former Committee on Graduate Studies was reorganized into a Graduate Council. Doctoral programs were also established in 1931, and the first doctorate was awarded in 1935. From 1931 through spring 2012, 9,993 Doctor of Philosophy degrees, 576 doctorates other than Doctor of Philosophy degrees, and 50,465 master’s degrees were awarded. The total number of advanced degrees awarded by LSU thus reached 61,034.
The Graduate School is administered by the graduate dean, in consultation with the Graduate Council. This council is composed of the dean of The Graduate School, who serves as ex-officio member, and 16 faculty members appointed for rotating terms of five years each by the graduate dean with the concurrence of the provost. The council considers proposals for new degree programs, recommends graduate faculty membership classifications, and recommends changes in Graduate School policy.
Admission to Graduate Study
Admission to The Graduate School is awarded on the basis of evidence of academic achievement and promise. Applications of students who meet The Graduate School requirements are forwarded to the appropriate academic units for final approval.
Certain programs require higher admission standards than those of The Graduate School. Due to the high demand for many graduate programs, meeting the minimum requirements of The Graduate School does not guarantee admission into a particular program.
Applicants meeting the following requirements are eligible for regular admission to The Graduate School. Applicants failing to meet all requirements may be granted probationary admission, provided other substantial evidence of capacity to do satisfactory graduate work—including outstanding performance in post baccalaureate and/or graduate work, high Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores (or Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) scores, where appropriate), and other outstanding achievement—is presented.
Applicants with unsatisfactory undergraduate records who have completed a minimum of nine hours of graded graduate course work with at least a 3.33 graduate grade point average (GPA) (“A” = 4.0) in a graduate program and who have acceptable GRE scores (GMAT, where applicable) will be considered for admission.
Applicants who appear admissible on the basis of unofficial and/or incomplete transcripts of previous work or unofficial test scores, but who are unable to supply the required records prior to registration, may be granted provisional admission. Subsequent enrollment will not be permitted until all provisions are met. Provisional admission does not guarantee subsequent regular admission to The Graduate School.
Admission to a Degree Program
Regular admission is awarded to applicants who intend to pursue a degree and meet the following requirements:
A bachelor’s degree from an accredited U.S. institution or the equivalent from a foreign institution.
A grade point average of at least 3.00 (“A”= 4.0) on all undergraduate work (or last half-degree requirement) and a 3.00 GPA or better on any graduate work already completed. International applicants must have at least a 3.00 GPA, or equivalent, on all college-level work attempted.
Acceptable GRE scores (in some cases, a high GRE may be used to compensate for a low GPA). An acceptable GMAT score is required for graduate programs in the E. J. Ourso College of Business, except for the MS and PhD in economics. The MPA program and the Information Systems & Decision Sciences program will accept either the GRE or the GMAT.
Certain professional master’s programs allow work experience to be substituted for either the GRE or GMAT. Please contact the department to which you intend to apply to determine their requirements for admission to the master’s degree.
Acceptance by the graduate faculty in the applicant’s area of study. Applicants who are narrowly trained or who have taken a significant amount of work on a pass-fail basis or in ungraded courses may be required to submit scores on GRE Subject (Advanced) Tests before their applications can be considered. Consult individual departments for additional admission requirements.
Applicants who fail to meet one or more of the requirements for regular admission may be admitted on probation, provided additional evidence of capacity to do satisfactory work is presented. Such evidence might include superior performance in a substantial amount of post baccalaureate work, high GRE scores (GMAT scores, when appropriate), and other achievements.
Students entering on probation will remain on probation until the completion of nine hours of graduate-level, graded courses (“A,” “B,” and “C” only) with at least a 3.00 average. Part-time students entering on probation and registering for fewer than nine hours may be dropped from The Graduate School if their GPA is less than 3.00 during any semester in which they are registered.
Students admitted on probation may not be appointed to assistantships or fellowships until they attain good academic standing. (See PS-21 for additional information.)
Provisional admission may be considered for applicants who appear to be admissible on the basis of the credentials submitted, but who are unable to supply all of the required official records prior to registration. Students admitted provisionally must submit complete and satisfactory records within 60 days (45 days in summer term) after the first day of class for the semester in which graduate study begins. If these credentials are not received by the date specified, or if they prove to be unsatisfactory, students will not be permitted to register for the following semester. Provisional admission does not guarantee subsequent regular admission.
Admission of International Students
Applicants who have completed degree requirements outside the U.S. must present all of the following:
A complete and accurate chronological outline of all previous college-level education.
Authorized school or university records—transcripts, marksheets, certificates of degrees—showing all courses taken and all grades received (with certified translations if the records are in a language other than English).
A bachelor’s degree or its equivalent, with a grade point average equivalent to a “B” or better on all previous undergraduate work (or last half-degree requirement) from an accredited college or university.
Verification of the availability of sufficient funds to meet all costs while studying at LSU as an F-1 student before the I-20 Certificate of Eligibility will be processed. For the current list of estimated expenses for international students, please visit International Services’ website at www.oip.lsu.edu/iso/Dates%20and%20costs.htm.
GRE Test scores (GMAT where appropriate).
A satisfactory score on the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or the International English Language Testing System (IELTS).
An applicant whose native language is not English and/or who has been educated outside of the U.S. in a country or province where English is not the only official language must demonstrate proof of English proficiency by submitting either a TOEFL or an IELTS score before the application is evaluated for admission.
On the TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language), the following minimum scores are required for admission:
550 (paper-based exam)
213 (computer-based exam)
79 (internet-based exam)
Information regarding TOEFL may be obtained by visiting the official website at www.toefl.org
On the IELTS (International English Language Testing Service), the following minimum score is required for admission:
Information about IELTS may be found at www.ielts.org. IELTS is jointly owned by the British Council, IDP: IELTS Australia, and the University of Cambridge ESOL Examinations. Official TOEFL/IELTS scores are those reported directly to LSU by the respective testing service at the request of the student.
Applicants may be exempt from the TOEFL / IELTS requirement if they have completed one of the following:
A bachelor’s degree earned from an accredited U.S. institution;
A college-level degree showing the completion of post-secondary education in a country where English is the primary official language.
Official transcripts or scores are required showing completion of one of the above before a student can be exempted from the TOEFL/ IELTS requirement. The Office of Graduate Student Services reserves the right to require a satisfactory TOEFL/IELTS score from any applicant. All international students who are admitted will be required to take an English placement test prior to registration.
Application deadlines for international students are the same as for all other applicants; however, because transcripts from foreign universities require special evaluation, prospective international students should begin the application process at least nine to twelve months prior to the semester in which they plan to enroll. Applications received after the deadline dates will be processed for the following semester or summer term. When sufficient scholastic records and acceptable evidence of English proficiency are not received early enough to determine admissibility for the semester for which application is made, consideration for a subsequent semester will be made only upon the applicant’s written request.
Upon arrival on campus and before registration, international applicants (except citizens of Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Ireland, the United Kingdom, certain Caribbean islands, and Belize) who have been admitted to The Graduate School must take the LSU Comprehensive English Language Test, consisting of the Michigan Test and a writing sample. Students with teaching duties whose tests indicate a deficiency in English will be required to register for appropriate English composition courses with a reduced load of graduate courses.
All international graduate students awarded graduate teaching assistantships must demonstrate proficiency in English. Any international graduate assistant who has not received a favorable recommendation from this speech course may not teach in any capacity.
An international applicant who has completed an undergraduate degree at an accredited U.S. institution must meet regular admission requirements. Before the applicant can be considered, The Graduate School must receive a satisfactory GRE or GMAT score. An international applicant will not be admitted until this information has been received.
The application for admission to The Graduate School is accessed at www.lsu.edu/gradapply. Only online applications may be submitted to The Graduate School. Submission of the application fee requires a credit or debit card. The application fee is $50US for U.S. citizens and permanent residents and $70US for all other applicants.
A late fee of $25US is assessed if the application is submitted after the following dates: May 1 for spring intersession, July 15 for summer intersession, May 15 for the fall semester, October 15 for the spring semester, December 1 for winter intersession, and May 15 for the summer term. International applications received after these dates will be processed for the following semester and no late fee will be assessed. Fall applications should be received before the January 1 priority date in order to receive full consideration for assistantships, fellowships, or scholarships for which the applicant has applied.
International applicants are encouraged to determine course availability before applying for summer entry, and they are further encouraged to apply at least nine months in advance of their intended semester of enrollment. Applicants for graduate admission are responsible for the following:
The required application fee and any applicable late fee.
Submitting the following items to The Graduate School:
One set of official transcripts of all previous college or university work from each institution attended. An official transcript bears the official seal of the issuing school. Photocopies, facsimiles, or transcripts marked “issued to student” are not official. Transfer credit posted on the records of other institutions is not accepted in lieu of transcripts from the original institution(s). If the college or university will supply an official transcript in a sealed and signed envelope, the student should obtain the transcript in this manner and submit it unopened. If the college or university will not send official transcripts to a student, please request that a transcript be sent to: LSU Office of Graduate Student Services, 114 David Boyd Hall, Baton Rouge, LA 70803. Transcripts from the LSU main campus need not be submitted.
A satisfactory score on the verbal and quantitative portion of the Graduate Record Examination (GRE). LSU’s code for GRE reporting is R6373-5. Test information may be obtained from The Graduate School at LSU; graduate schools at most colleges and universities; or by writing to Educational Testing Service, P.O. Box 6000, Princeton, New Jersey 08541-6000. Allow at least six weeks for examination results to reach LSU.
Applicants to the Master of Fine Arts program in studio art and theatre, Master of Music, and programs in business administration are not required to submit GRE scores. Applicants for the Master of Fine Arts in creative writing are required to submit GRE scores. Applicants to the Master of Fine Arts program in theatre (specialization in Scenic Technology and Design) are required to submit GRE Scores. Applicants to all other Master of Fine Arts programs in theatre are not required to submit GRE scores.
The Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) is required of applicants for all degrees in the E. J. Ourso College of Business, except for the MS and PhD with a major in economics which require the GRE. The Department of Information Systems & Decision Sciences and the MPA program will accept either the GRE or GMAT score. Application procedures for the GMAT are the same as described above. This examination may be taken at LSU. The LSU code for GMAT score reporting is R6373-5.
International applicants should also submit:
degree statements and an official English translation of each foreign document
a satisfactory score on either the TOEFL or IELTS
Three letters of recommendation; these letters may be submitted electronically through the online application.
Many departments have other specific departmental admission requirements. For specific information, consult the individual departments.
Admission is for the semester requested. Those admitted who do not register must make a written request to be reconsidered for admission for a subsequent semester. Request for a delay of admission will only be considered for two subsequent semesters from the original application semester (intersessions excluded). A new application is required for a delay of more than two semesters from the original semester of application (summer included). The Graduate School will not consider for admission any nonimmigrant that has entered the U.S. on an I-20 issued by another institution until that person has been enrolled for at least one semester at the institution issuing the I-20.
A student who holds a baccalaureate degree but who does not desire to enroll in a degree program in The Graduate School may enroll as a graduate non-matriculating student. Course work is taken for academic credit, and all rules and regulations for graduate students apply. A student in this category must register for at least one course numbered 4000 or above each semester to maintain graduate status. Courses numbered below 4000 may be taken concurrently with graduate course work.
Enrollment in courses numbered 6000 and above is limited to a total of six semester hours for graduate students in this classification. However, an unlimited number of courses numbered 5999 and below may be taken.
No more than 12 hours of graduate credit taken as a non-matriculating student may be applied toward the requirement for a master’s degree.
No more than 12 hours of combined credit transferred from other schools and earned as an LSU extension or non-matriculating student may be applied toward a master’s degree at LSU. (See “Transfer of Credit”.)
Students wishing to enroll only in courses numbered below 4000 should apply for undergraduate admission through the Office of Enrollment Management, 1146 Pleasant Hall. Students classified as extension students are ineligible to enroll in on-campus courses. Applications for graduate non-degree admission may be completed by accessing the online application at www.lsu.edu/gradapply. Students applying for graduate non-degree admission must submit one official transcript from the highest degree-granting institution and from each institution where graduate credit was earned or attempted. Transcripts must indicate that the applicant has a 2.50 or better GPA on all undergraduate work completed and a 3.00 or better GPA on all graduate work completed. Transcripts should be mailed directly to the LSU Office of Graduate Student Services, 114 David Boyd Hall, Baton Rouge, LA 70803. In addition, a TOEFL score of at least 550 on the paper-based test, 213 on the computer-based test, or 79 on the Internet-based test, or an IELTS score of at least 6.5 must be received before an international student’s application is evaluated for admission. Applicants from Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Ireland, certain Caribbean islands, Belize, and the United Kingdom are exempt from the TOEFL or IELTS requirement. International students who have received a degree from an accredited institution in the U.S., Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Ireland, certain Caribbean islands, or the United Kingdom are also exempt from taking the TOEFL or the IELTS. A nonrefundable application fee must be submitted with the application. The application fee is $50US for U.S. citizens and permanent residents and $70US for all other applications.
Students not regularly admitted to the university may attend classes as auditors, provided they meet all previously mentioned requirements for admission, have written permission from the individual course instructor(s) and the graduate dean, and have made the necessary arrangements and paid the required fees. Prospective auditors should initiate registration by obtaining an “Audit Only” form from the Office of the University Registrar.
Regularly enrolled graduate students may also audit courses with consent of the individual instructor(s). Auditors will not receive degree credit and will not be permitted to take a credit examination on audited course work. However, previously audited courses may be taken for credit. Audited courses do not count in total course loads and are not recorded on official transcripts.
Readmission to Original Program
Previously enrolled graduate students who fail to enroll for three or more consecutive semesters (summer term included) must reapply to The Graduate School. Applications for re-entry will be subject to reevaluation under current admission criteria; readmission is not guaranteed.
Official transcripts must be submitted if work has been taken at another institution since the student was last enrolled at LSU. The application deadlines for admission also apply for readmission, as do application fees and late fees.
Readmission with a Change of Program
A student wishing to pursue a degree or program other than the one originally sought and who has not enrolled for three or more semesters (including summer terms) must complete application procedures as described above and comply with the requirements for the new program. Acceptance into one program does not guarantee admission into another. The admission decision ultimately rests with the admission committee of the department or interdepartmental program concerned.
All official notifications regarding admission to The Graduate School are conveyed to the student through the online application site. Students must log in to their application to view their admission status.
Graduate Fees & Financial Aid
Graduate student expenses, other than those explained below, will vary with the individual. The Board of Supervisors may change fees and costs for dining plans and housing at any time and without advance notice. Students should check the Office of Budget and Planning’s Website at www.bgtplan.lsu.edu.
The following discussion of fees, required minimum registration, and related matters covers items that apply only to graduate students and for which graduate students and undergraduates are treated differently. For all other fees (vehicle registration, audit, student insurance, the Student Health Center, and the like) see “Undergraduate Fees and Expenses”.
Included in university fees for full-time graduate students are subscriptions to the Daily Reveille campus newspaper and Legacy student magazine; a copy of the Gumbo student yearbook; an allocation to Student Government; admission to various athletic events in the spring semester; membership in the LSU Student Union; and reduced golf green fees at the LSU Golf Course.
Student allocations included in university fees are a campus transit fee, a Student Recreational Sports Complex fee, a fee for “The Phone,” a KLSU radio fee, and an LSU Tiger TV fee. Additionally, university fees include a nonrefundable registration fee and a Student Health Center fee.
All applications for graduate admission must be paid when completing the online application process. Additional nonrefundable late fees, where applicable, are assessed for all applications received after the published deadlines for a given semester.
The late application fee also applies to applications for readmission submitted after the established deadline dates. International applicants should consult the section “Admission of International Students” for additional information.
Minimum Graduate Student Registration
Graduate students engaged in the writing of theses or dissertations are expected to register for research hours commensurate with the amount of university resources—faculty time, equipment, library facilities, and/or office space—to be used that semester. Out-of-town students are also expected to register for research hours if they are receiving any faculty advice or direction.
In addition, doctoral candidates must maintain continuous registration for a minimum of three semester hours of credit each regular semester (excluding summers) from the completion of the general examination to the end of the semester in which an approved dissertation is submitted to The Graduate School. Students must be registered for a minimum of one to three semester hours of credit during any semester in which they are taking master’s or doctoral examinations, including the qualifying examinations required by some departments.
“Degree Only” Registration
Students, who have completed all degree requirements, including final examinations taken in a previous semester, may register for “degree only” and pay only the graduation fee. “Degree only” registration is only allowed for students whose theses or dissertations are submitted to The Graduate School on or before the last day to add courses for credit. Non-thesis students may also register “degree only,” provided all degree requirements are met in a previous semester. Degree Only registration must be completed by close of business on the last date to add classes for the semester of graduation.
Fees for auditing courses are in accordance with the regular semester and summer term fees. Fees for students enrolling for combined credit and audit work will be assessed in accordance with total hours scheduled.
Residency Status for Tuition Purposes
Eligibility for classification as a Louisiana resident is determined by The Graduate School in accordance with university regulations and is based on evidence provided on the application for admission and related documents. Regulations relate primarily to location of the permanent home and place of employment.
A student classified as a resident is one who has abandoned all prior domiciles and has been domiciled in the state of Louisiana continuously for at least one full year (365 days) immediately preceding the first day of classes of the term for which classification as a resident is sought. Physical presence within the state solely for educational purposes without substantial evidence of the intent to remain in Louisiana will not be sufficient for resident classification, regardless of the length of time within the state. Further detailed information is available in PM 31 and on The Graduate School website.
Master’s degree fee—$35; processing fee, $20
Doctoral degree fee—$55; processing fee, $35
Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree fee, $40
Duplicate diploma fee—$20 (charged if a diploma is ordered and student does not graduate at that commencement)
Replacement diploma fee—$30
Special Research Fees
For specially planned research programs arranged through the Office of International Programs, departmental research fees are applicable and vary with the individual program.
For students in the School of Social Work, an internship fee of $100 per course is assessed. The fee(s) must be paid by all students enrolled in SW 7007, SW 7008, SW 7502, and SW 7503.
For students in the School of Veterinary Medicine, a microscope fee of $40 per semester is assessed to each student in Years I and II of the professional curriculum. Regularly admitted students are not assessed fees in the summer (regardless of the elective blocks taken in Year III and IV). Regularly admitted students accepted from contract states pay the same fees as Louisiana residents, with respective states paying an additional increment as specified by contract.
The university offers financial assistance to graduate students through a variety of programs, including fellowships, assistantships, internships, student jobs, and loans. Since these programs are administered by separate offices, a student interested in applying should contact the appropriate office for more detailed information.
Students should work with their financial aid officer to carefully study the impact of any employment or award on their eligibility for student loans.
Fellowships and Scholarships
The Graduate School offers a number of fellowships and scholarships to exceptional students. Most students can expect to receive some type of aid throughout their graduate careers. In some cases, recipients are required to have completed a minimum amount of graduate work prior to receiving an award. All such assistance is awarded on the basis of the individual’s academic achievements. Interested students should contact the graduate advisor of the department in which they plan to study.
Graduate Enrichment Funds • Superior graduate students awarded departmental assistantships and fellowships in selected departments may receive a monetary enhancement to their departmental assistantship or fellowship. Interested students should contact the graduate advisor of the department in which they plan to study.
Graduate School Dissertation Fellowships • Dissertation fellowships are available to exceptional doctoral students who will begin their final year of study. A maximum one-year (9 month) stipend of $18,000 is awarded. Resident and nonresident tuition are exempted. The recipient will be responsible for paying the required university fees.
Applicants must be able to demonstrate that there is a high probability for completion of the dissertation during the fellowship year. Dissertation fellowships are available only to full-time students. For information on application procedures that entail departmental nomination each spring for the following fiscal year, please visit the Financial Assistance section of The Graduate School web page. Interested students should contact the graduate advisor of the department in which they plan to study.
Board of Regents Graduate Fellowship Program (PhD and MFA) • The Louisiana Educational Quality Support Fund provides Board of Regents Graduate Fellowships for exceptionally qualified graduate students in selected professional programs. These awards range from $14,000 to $30,000+ per year for up to four years. Resident and nonresident tuition are exempted. Recipients are responsible for paying required university fees. Academic departments eligible for these awards vary from year to year. Most major areas award these fellowships annually, including humanities, social sciences, basic sciences, arts, design, education, agriculture, and engineering.
Applications must be submitted to the candidate’s department and must include scores on the verbal and quantitative portions of the Graduate Record Examination (or GMAT scores if appropriate), an official transcript of all grade point averages on all college work, a one-page narrative of educational goals, and three letters of recommendation. Interested students should contact the graduate advisor of the department in which they plan to study.
Graduate School Tuition Awards • The graduate dean may award up to 200 tuition exemptions to incoming graduate students from underrepresented groups. These tuition awards provide for an exemption from either the resident fee or both the resident and nonresident fees for up to two years. Recipients are responsible for paying required university fees. Preference will be given to African Americans and students from Latin American countries. Students must be regularly admitted to a graduate program at LSU and be nominated by their department. Interested students should contact the graduate advisor of the department in which they plan to study.
More than 2,000 teaching, research, and service assistantships are awarded annually. All communication regarding graduate assistantships should be directed to the chair of the appropriate department. Applications and supporting credentials are accepted at all times, but priority for graduate assistantships beginning in the fall semester is given to applicants who submit their materials by early January. Students who accept assistantships before April 15 may be free to resign in order to accept another offer up to that date. An acceptance given or left in force after April 15 is a commitment not to accept another appointment without first obtaining formal release from the prior commitment.
A graduate assistantship is intended to be supportive of the student’s educational experience by relating to the graduate program in which the student is enrolled. Proposed appointment to duties unrelated to the student’s major program must have the concurrence of the student’s major department prior to approval by The Graduate School.
Eligibility Requirements • Graduate students with acceptable academic records may be appointed to graduate assistantships. A student admitted on probation may not be appointed to a graduate assistantship until he or she achieves good standing. A graduate student placed on academic probation by The Graduate School for failing to make satisfactory progress may not be appointed or reappointed to a graduate assistantship unless the student’s cumulative/semester grade point average is at least 3.00.
Details and additional information regarding eligibility for a graduate assistantship may be found in PS-21—available online, in the appendices of this chapter, from The Graduate School, and in departmental offices.
Stipends • Graduate assistant stipend levels vary widely depending on the department and assigned duties. Assigned duties may include research, teaching, and/or service. Graduate assistantship appointments may also be for one-third or one-quarter time, with an appropriate adjustment in the stipend. Appointments for more than one-half time require special justification. Although most appointments are made on an academic-year basis, assistantships are available in certain departments during the summer months, with an appropriate adjustment in the stipend. Fiscal year appointments are also available.
*International applications received after the deadline will be processed automatically for the following semester or summer term.
**No late fees are associated with the January 25 priority date for full consideration for assistantships and fellowships.
± International applications for nondegree enrollment must be pre-approved and are assessed the $70 international student application fee.
Graduate School Regulations
The following discussion of general Graduate School regulations should be read in conjunction with “Requirements for Advanced Degrees.” Regulations common to graduate and undergraduate students (the Code of Conduct, grade appeals, etc.) are covered in “Regulations.”
Graduate School requirements are minimal, and in many cases, are exceeded by those of individual departments. Statements of specific departmental requirements for degrees are included in the departmental section of this chapter. Most departments also have brochures describing their programs and requirements in detail.
Graduate Student Classification
In order to be classified as a graduate student, half of the credit hours that students are enrolled in per semester must be graduate-level courses that can be applied to the graduate program requirements.
Graduate students must assume full responsibility for knowledge of Graduate School policies and departmental requirements concerning their individual degree programs. Advances in knowledge and changes in methodology at times require alterations in degree programs. Therefore, graduate students should be aware of the current regulations and requirements of The Graduate School and of their departments at all times. Current regulations and requirements take precedence over any previously promulgated policies.
Between LSU General Catalog issues, notices of changes will be available from The Graduate School and from each department.
A student may receive graduate credit only for courses taught by members of the graduate faculty or other persons approved in advance by the dean of The Graduate School. Except as noted, a student may receive graduate credit only for work taken while officially enrolled as a graduate student.
Any student dropped from a graduate program because of unsatisfactory performance will not be permitted to take courses for credit toward a graduate degree beyond the semester in which the student is dropped.
Graduate students may not take credit examinations in graduate-level courses.
Graduate Credit in Law
Students registered in The Graduate School may receive graduate credit for certain courses offered by the Hebert Law Center if the courses have been approved in advance by the Hebert Law Center and the dean of The Graduate School. Students should submit a written petition to The Graduate School for such approval. They must obtain permission from the vice chancellor of the Paul M. Hebert Law Center in order to register for these courses.
Dual Degree Programs
Students interested in these programs are encouraged to visit the individual program sites.
LSU and the Paul M. Hebert Law Center offer several dual degree programs, allowing a student to earn both the JD/CL and a master’s degree.
Students enrolling in the dual degree programs must be admitted separately to the LSU Graduate School and the Law Center. Students should consult with the admissions office of each institution prior to enrollment.
Each program has specific requirements, which can be found by visiting the websites listed above.
Students successfully completing one of the programs listed above will receive two degrees, a JD/CL awarded by LSU’s Hebert Law Center and a master’s degree awarded by LSU.
Transfer of Credit
Hours transferred may not exceed one-half of the total semester hours of graduate course work (thesis hours excepted) required for the student’s degree program. For example, a maximum of 12 hours may be transferred in a master’s program requiring 24 hours of course work.
A maximum of 12 semester hours of credit earned as an LSU extension or non-matriculating student may, in some cases, be used in a master’s degree program if approved by the department chair and the dean of The Graduate School. This includes a maximum of six hours at the 6000 level and above for LSU extension or non-matriculating credit.
A maximum of 12 hours of transfer credit from other schools may, in some cases, be used in a master’s degree program if approved by the department chair and the dean of The Graduate School. Only six hours applied toward a previous master’s degree may be applied toward a second master’s degree (see “Second Master’s Degree”).
To petition for acceptance of these credits, the student must be currently enrolled, must have completed at least nine hours of graduate residence course work in a degree program at LSU, and must be in good academic standing.
Transfer credit from other accredited schools must have been earned for graduate residence credit. This course work must be judged appropriate to the student’s program by the graduate faculty of the major department, must have been taught by a professor whose credentials are comparable to those of graduate faculty at LSU, and must, in terms of time invested, be comparable to graduate courses at LSU. Transfer work may not be used to fulfill the master’s program requirement that at least one-half of the minimum required credit be in courses at or above the 7000 level.
No more than 12 hours of combined credit transferred from other schools and earned as an LSU extension or nonmatriculating student may be applied toward a master’s degree at LSU. Credit earned as an LSU extension or nonmatriculating student or transferred from another institution must be for course work in which the student earned a grade of “A” or “B.” Courses in which a grade of “C” was earned will not be accepted for transfer into a master’s degree program.
Transfer work must have been completed within five years of the time the student is eligible to petition. Once transfer credit is approved, it is valid as long as the master’s degree is completed within the five-year time limit or the transfer work is within five years of degree completion.
Graduate work transferred from other institutions may be applied toward degree requirements, but the grades earned will not be computed in the LSU graduate average nor will transfer work appear on the official transcript. Graduate course work taken at other campuses within the LSU System is not considered transfer credit, and any number of hours may be applied toward a degree if approved by the chair of the student’s department on this campus.
Graduate Credit for LSU Seniors
Refer here within the chapter, “Courses of Instruction,” in this catalog for additional information on enrollment for undergraduate credit in the 4000 or 7000 level courses.
No graduate credit is allowed for work done by correspondence study at this or any other university.
Eligibility of Faculty and Staff for Graduate Degrees
LSU System regulations govern LSU employees’ eligibility to work toward graduate degrees. A faculty member above the rank of instructor may not work toward a graduate degree at this university. Other employees who, in the opinion of the Graduate Council, are of equivalent status may not work toward graduate degrees. Non-faculty, professional staff, and/or administrators may pursue master’s degrees; only those who do not hold positions where there is a potential conflict of interest will be permitted to pursue doctoral degrees.
If an employee serving as a professional staff member and/or administrator wishes to pursue a doctoral degree, the employee, his or her immediate supervisor, and the chair of the department in which he or she wishes to pursue the degree must submit to the dean of The Graduate School statements outlining the employee’s job responsibilities and providing an analysis of the independence of the employee’s official duties from the department in which doctoral work is to be taken. The Graduate Council will review these statements and make a recommendation through official channels to the chancellor.
Graduate Grading System
Grades in The Graduate School have the following meanings:
Marks carrying advanced degree credit are “A,” “B,” “C” (up to, but no more than six hours); “S” (satisfactory); and “P” (pass).
Marks carrying no credit for advanced degrees are “D” (poor), “F” (fail), “I” (incomplete), “W” (withdrawn), “U” (unsatisfactory), and “NC” (no credit).
Cumulative grade point average is the average based only on graduate work graded “A,” “B,” “C,” “D,” and “F” (“A” = 4, “B” = 3, “C” = 2, “D” = 1, “F” = 0).
Semester grade point average is the average based on graduate and undergraduate work graded “A,” “B,” “C,” “D,” and “F.”
“I” Grade: An “I” grade indicates that course performance was satisfactory, but because of circumstances beyond the student’s control, all requirements were not met. Authorization from the dean of The Graduate School is not required to assign an “I” grade to a graduate student.
An “I” grade should never be given to enable a student to do additional work to bring up a deficient grade. A task should not be assigned to a class that will take longer than a semester to complete, thus causing everyone in the class to get an “I” grade. An “I” grade may not be given for a course taken in the semester in which the student graduates if that course is listed on the application for degree or if changing the “I” grade to an “F” would result in the student’s cumulative average being less than 3.00. An “I” grade should never be assigned for thesis/dissertation research. “S” (satisfactory) and “U” (unsatisfactory) grades are given for thesis (8000) and dissertation (9000) research courses up to and including the semester the student graduates.
An “I” grade is valid only until the final day of classes in the next regular semester (fall or spring), whether or not the student is enrolled. “I” grades received in the spring semester or the summer term are valid until the end of classes in the fall semester. “I” grades received in the fall semester are valid until the final day of classes in the spring semester. There will be no extension of time. Responsibility for changing an “I” grade lies both with the student and the faculty member concerned. The faculty member’s failure to submit a “Grade Correction Report” to change the “I” grade by the final day of class for the next regular semester will result in the “I” grade becoming a permanent “F” grade.
Unusual circumstances that preclude a student from completion of course requirements may—at the discretion of the dean of The Graduate School—permit assignment of a permanent “I” grade.
Unusual circumstances might include, but would not be limited to, withdrawal of the student from the university because of prolonged medical problems, or death or resignation of the faculty member concerned, and the absence of another faculty member to supervise the unfinished work. The student must initiate the petition for a permanent “I” grade. This petition must be accompanied by a letter of justification from the faculty member concerned, if possible. The petition must also be endorsed by the chair of the student’s department before it is submitted to the dean of The Graduate School.
“W” grade: A “W” grade indicates that a course has been dropped between the dates specified on the academic calendar. In extraordinary cases, the dean of The Graduate School may authorize a resignation and/or course drop after the last date specified.
The policies and procedures of the university governing grade appeals are described in the section concerning university regulations.
With approval of the student’s major professor, department chair, instructor of the course involved, and the dean of The Graduate School, a graduate student may register on a pass-fail basis for courses not included in the major or minor requirements. The deadline for changing from pass-fail grading to letter grading, or vice versa, is the last day for adding courses for credit.
If the student’s major department agrees, graduate courses passed with a grade of “P” may be offered for degree credit, but the grade will not be considered in computing the grade point average. For graduate-credit courses, a grade of “P” will be assigned only if the work is of at least “B” quality. A grade of “F” in a pass-fail course will be treated as any other “F.” Some departments have designated certain research and seminar courses to be taught on a pass-fail basis. All students enrolled in these courses will be graded in this manner.
Good Standing: Graduate students are considered to be in good academic standing, (making satisfactory academic progress), if they maintain a 3.00 cumulative grade point average on all graduate course work taken within the LSU System and a 3.00 semester average on all course work (undergraduate and graduate), and earn a grade of “S” in research.
Probation and Dismissal: A student whose cumulative LSU average is below 3.00 will be placed on probation, except that a student whose cumulative average is as low as 2.75 may be dropped from The Graduate School without having a probationary period. For these purposes, a summer term is counted the same as a regular semester. A student already on probation whose cumulative average is below 3.00 will be dropped from The Graduate School. A student receiving a “U” grade in research will be placed on probation. A student receiving a second “U” in research may be dropped from The Graduate School. Rules governing students admitted on probation are provided in “Admission to Graduate Study” in this chapter. The grades recorded determine the student’s academic status, even if the student changes to a different graduate degree program.
Students who have been dropped from a graduate degree program and are ineligible to continue in The Graduate School may not reapply as non-degree students.
Applicants admitted on probation and students placed on probation may not be appointed to a graduate assistantship. Refer to PS-21 for further details concerning assistantships and students on probation.
Academic Dishonesty: Academic integrity and honesty must be fundamental qualities of any graduate student’s program, and a graduate student’s conduct must be above reproach. Academic dishonesty undermines the entire academic enterprise. As a result, it cannot and will not be tolerated. It is the responsibility of all students to familiarize themselves with the Code of Student Conduct and other university rules and regulations governing student conduct and activities.
The Office of the Vice Chancellor for Student Life has administrative responsibility for coordinating all university disciplinary procedures and practices.
Graduation: To receive a graduate degree, students must be enrolled for the semester and have at least a 3.00 cumulative average on all graduate course work taken that is applicable to the degree program and on all graduate course work taken while registered in The Graduate School. “S” and “P” grades are not considered in determining whether this minimum level of performance has been achieved. A maximum of six credit hours of course work with a grade of “C” may be counted toward degree requirements.
Specific registration dates for each semester or summer term are listed on the academic calendar. Registration procedures are published in the semester schedule of classes at the website of the University Registrar.
Any graduate student who is utilizing university facilities and/or faculty time must register for an appropriate course load. Graduate students engaged in writing or defending theses or dissertations are expected to register for research hours commensurate with the amount of university resources (faculty time, equipment, library facilities, and/or office space) to be utilized that semester. There is a continuous registration requirement for doctoral students who have passed the general examination.
Full-time Study in Graduate School
Full-time graduate students are expected to register for at least nine semester hours of work in the fall and spring semesters and six hours in the summer term.
Graduate students may, with prior written approval of the dean of The Graduate School, receive credit for work taken concurrently at another university. For example, LSU has a cooperative registration program with Southern University and some cooperative graduate programs with other universities in Louisiana.
Course Loads of Graduate Assistants
Graduate students holding graduate assistantship appointments must meet certain minimum registration requirements. Such students are expected to register for a full load—nine hours in the spring and fall, at least six of which must be at the graduate level, and six hours in the summer, at least three of which must be at the graduate level—each semester until all degree requirements are completed.
Course Loads of Graduate Students Taking Examinations
Students must be registered for a minimum of one to three semester hours of credit during any semester in which they are taking the master’s final examination or doctoral general examination, including the qualifying examinations required by some departments. Doctoral students who have completed the general examination should see “Continuous Registration Requirement” under “Requirements for Advanced Degrees” in this chapter.
Course Loads of Full-Time Faculty and Other Academic Employees
A member of the faculty holding the rank of assistant professor or above may register for a maximum of four semester hours of credit each semester or summer term provided written approval has been given by the department chair and the dean of the college or school in which the faculty member is employed.
Full-time instructors and associates may register for a maximum of four semester hours of course work at the 7000 level or six semester hours (four during summer term) at the 4000 level.
Course Loads of Part-Time Faculty and Staff
Persons employed by the university half-time or less may register as full-time graduate students. Persons employed more than half-time by the university should not register as full-time graduate students. The maximum load permitted will depend on the extent of employment. Written permission to register as a full-time student must be obtained from the employee’s supervisor and academic advisory committee. Audits are not counted in the permitted load.
Registration of Employed Persons
The sum of the fraction of full-time registration and the fraction of full-time employment of nonacademic LSU employees should not exceed one and one-half. Written permission to exceed this registration/employment sum must be obtained from the employee’s supervisor and academic advisory committee.
“Degree Only” Registration
Students, who have completed all degree requirements, including final examinations taken in a previous semester, may register for “degree only” and pay only the graduation fee. “Degree only” registration is only allowed for students whose theses or dissertations are submitted to and approved by The Graduate School on or before the last day to add courses for credit. Eligible students must submit an application for degree and inform The Graduate School of their intent to register for “degree only.” Non-thesis students may also register “degree only,” provided all degree requirements are met in a previous semester.
Registration of Candidates for Degrees
Students expecting to receive their degrees in the current semester must be registered for course work or research hours unless they qualify to be registered “degree only” (see “Degree Only” Registration”). Eligible students must submit an “Application for Degree” by the published deadline.
Adding or Dropping Courses
A course may be added or dropped only in accordance with the dates indicated on the academic calendar. During the drop/add period, the student will initiate the action using the myLSU online registration system. A change from credit to audit is treated as a drop and add action, but it must be approved by The Graduate School by the published deadline. See “Auditing Courses” below for additional information about auditing courses.
Regularly enrolled graduate students may audit courses with the consent of individual instructors. Auditors will not receive degree credit for courses audited, nor will they later be permitted to take a credit examination on work audited. However, courses previously audited may be taken for credit later. Audited courses do not count in total course loads and are not recorded on official transcripts.
Changing Degree Programs
A student in one degree program who wishes to change to another degree program, or a student who completes one degree and wishes to pursue another degree, must obtain approval of the current department, new department and The Graduate School. A “Request for Change of Department” form may be obtained from The Graduate School website.
Students wishing to pursue a different degree in the same department must obtain approval from the department. The department must notify The Graduate School in writing of such a change.
Students wishing to pursue dual degrees must complete and submit the “Request for Dual Degree” form. Information on available dual degree programs is available on the departmental sites.
Resignation from the University
Dropping an entire course load constitutes resignation from the university for that semester. A graduate student who wishes to resign must first secure approval of the dean of The Graduate School. A resignation form must be completed within 10 days of the date approved by the dean, and in no case later than the date shown on the academic calendar as the final date for resigning from the university. Completion of resignation involves clearance through certain administrative divisions of the university, as shown on the resignation form provided by The Graduate School. A student who abandons courses without resigning will receive a grade of “F” in each course.
Academic Common Market
Louisiana participates with 13 other southern states in the Academic Common Market, an interstate agreement for sharing uncommon programs. Residents of these states who are accepted for admission into selected out-of-state programs can enroll on an in-state tuition basis.
To enroll as Academic Common Market students, applicants must be accepted for admission into a program to which their state has made arrangements to send its students, and obtain certification of residency from the Common Market Coordinator in their home state. Applications for admission should be made directly to the institution offering the program. Additional information about the Academic Common Market and programs available at in-state tuition rates for residents of Louisiana can be obtained from the Office of the University Registrar.
With appropriate approval, LSU graduate students may take courses for resident credit at the LSU Health Sciences Center in New Orleans. Fees paid at LSU will be for the number of hours to be taken at LSU plus the number of hours to be taken at one of the other campuses in the LSU System.
An application for multi-campus registration may be obtained from the LSU Office of the University Registrar. In order to prevent delay in registration, this form should be submitted at least two weeks before the scheduled time of registration. Approval for multi-campus registration must be obtained from the student’s major department, the LSU Graduate School, the LSU Office of the University Registrar, the dean of the other campus’ college, and registrar of the other campus.
Cooperative Graduate Programs
Several of LSU’s graduate degree programs have specific cooperation with other universities in Louisiana. These programs include applied statistics, economics, education, oceanography and coastal sciences, physics, psychology, and systems science. Details and additional information may be obtained from the graduate coordinator in the appropriate area.
Foreign Exchange Programs
In order to provide students with a variety of culturally enriching experiences, The Graduate School has student exchange programs with foreign universities. Additional opportunities for study abroad are available through other campus offices. For more information, contact The Graduate School.
Requirements for Advanced Degrees
Satisfaction of the minimum requirements of The Graduate School, as stipulated in this publication, does not relieve graduate students of the responsibility for satisfying any additional requirements deemed appropriate by the graduate faculty of the degree programs in which they are enrolled.
Requirements for the Master’s Degree
Programs in liberal arts and social sciences ordinarily lead to the MA degree. Programs in other fields usually lead to the MS degree or to specialized master’s degrees.
The minimum requirement is 30 semester hours of graduate work, 24 hours of which must be in course work and six hours in thesis research. In programs not requiring a thesis, the minimum requirement is normally 36 semester hours. At least one-half of the minimum required credit in the student’s master’s program must be in courses at or above the 7000 level. Transfer work from other institutions may not be counted toward this requirement. Six hours of thesis credit will be counted as work above the 7000 level. Students pursuing a 36-hour non-thesis option must complete a minimum of 18 hours in courses numbered at or above 7000. A student’s efforts will be concentrated in one major field, but a department may require a minor of six or more semester hours of credit in one or more related fields.
A maximum of 12 semester hours of transfer credit from other schools and/or credit taken while classified as an LSU extension or non-matriculating student may, in some cases, be used in a master’s degree program if approved by the department chair and the dean of The Graduate School. See “Transfer of Credit” under “Graduate School Regulations” in this chapter.
Application for Degree
Early in each semester or summer term there is a deadline for submitting the “Application for Degree” to The Graduate School. Master’s candidates are required to submit the “Application for Degree” form along with the “Master’s Application for Degree” forms. On these forms, a student lists all course work taken that applies toward the degree. Submission of the application carries with it the implication that the student intends to graduate that semester. If circumstances prevent graduation, a “Request for Degree Update” form must be submitted to The Graduate School by the designated application for degree deadline for the next semester in which the student plans to graduate.
Programs for master’s degrees must be completed within five years from entrance into a degree program. Credit for individual courses taken at LSU more than five years before the termination of a program may be revalidated by the student’s graduate committee through an examination. This examination may be oral, written, or both oral and written, depending on the requirements of the department concerned. The documentation of such an examination must be signed by members of the committee and the department’s graduate advisor and reported to The Graduate School on the “Master’s Course Revalidation form” before the request for the student’s final examination will be approved. Students are responsible for verifying if their department has a revalidation policy. No more than 50 percent of the courses in a student’s program may be revalidated and counted toward the degree requirements. For regulations regarding time limits and eligibility of transfer work, see “Transfer of Credit” under “Graduate School Regulations”.
The Thesis and the Master’s Committee
In most departments, the preparation of a thesis is an important element in the program leading to the master’s degree. The master’s thesis should demonstrate capacity for research, originality of thought, and facility in organizing materials. The thesis must be acceptable in subject matter and exhibit creditable literary workmanship. At least six semester hours of thesis credit are required for the master’s degree with the thesis option. For additional information concerning thesis preparation, consult the electronic thesis and dissertation guidelines available at etd.lsu.edu/.
Final acceptance of the master’s thesis rests with a committee of three or more members of the graduate faculty nominated by the chair of the major department and appointed by the dean of The Graduate School. See the “Graduate Faculty” section of this chapter for definitions of full, associate, and affiliate members of the graduate faculty.
The major professor, who must be from the major department, is designated as chair or co-chair of this committee. If either an adjunct or a non-tenure-track faculty member is the major professor, a full-time tenured or tenure-track graduate faculty member must co-chair the committee. Other committee members may be from the major department or from other pertinent departments. If there is an external minor, one committee member must represent the minor department. Both thesis and non-thesis committees must include at least one full member of the graduate faculty, and at least one-half of the committee’s graduate faculty members must be full-time tenured or tenure-track faculty members at LSU. Any additions to or changes in the makeup of this committee must be approved in advance by the dean of The Graduate School. The dean of The Graduate School may serve as a member of any committee or may appoint additional members.
Some departments offer optional non-thesis programs for the master’s degree. Departmental websites indicate whether this option is available.
Comprehensive Final Examination
Candidates for master’s degrees in most programs are required to pass a comprehensive final examination. This examination may be oral, written, or both oral and written, depending on the requirements of the department concerned. In non-thesis programs, greater weight is ordinarily given to this examination, and it will probably be broader in scope than the examination given to a student who completes a thesis.
At least three weeks prior to the time this examination is to be given (and by the current semester deadline if the student is a degree candidate), the student’s department should submit to The Graduate School a “Request for Final Exam” form. Normally, a candidate for the master’s degree will take the final examination during the semester in which he or she plans to graduate. If a student wishes to take the final examination at an earlier date, the student’s committee must furnish the graduate dean with a sound academic reason for doing so. To be eligible to take the final exam, the student must have a 3.00 cumulative average. Exams may be taken anytime the university is open for business. In non-thesis programs, all degree requirements must be met no later than the deadline in the regular semester following the final examination.
This committee, nominated by the chair of the student’s major department and appointed by the dean of The Graduate School, is ordinarily composed of those faculty members who served as the student’s thesis committee. For the non-thesis option, the committee must consist of three or more members of the graduate faculty nominated by the chair of the major department and appointed by the dean of The Graduate School. At least one member of the examining committee must be a full member of the graduate faculty. The major professor serves as chair or co-chair of the examining committee. Representatives of the graduate faculty may be added by the dean.
For students defending a thesis, the examining committee must have copies of the thesis at least two weeks prior to the final examination.
In order for a student to pass this examination, there may not be more than one dissenting vote. Dissenting votes, along with assenting votes, must be recorded on the examination cards and the thesis approval sheets submitted to The Graduate School.
Timely Completion of the Degree after Final Exam
Approved theses, including Graduate School corrections, must be submitted to The Graduate School no later than the deadline for submission of approved theses in the regular semester following the final examination. As with thesis candidates, non-thesis students who pass the final exam in one semester must complete degree requirements no later than the next regular semester following the final exam. A final examination may be voided by the dean of The Graduate School for failure to submit the approved thesis in a timely manner as described.
Second Master’s Degree
Students who wish to obtain a second master’s degree from the university must meet all academic and residence requirements set by The Graduate School and the department concerned. A maximum of six hours from the first degree may be applied toward the second degree. These hours must be listed on the “Application for Degree” for the second master’s degree under the “Transfer or Petitioned Credits” section.
Accelerated Master’s Degree Program
The accelerated master’s program is open to superior undergraduate students who have completed at least 60 semester hours of credit (including AP credit) with a grade point average of at least 3.50 for all work taken at LSU. To be eligible, transfer students must have a 3.50 average on all undergraduate work taken prior to attending LSU and must complete at least one semester at LSU with a 3.50 GPA.
Acceptance into the accelerated program requires approval from the following: (1) chair of the undergraduate department in which the student is enrolled; (2) dean of the college in which the student is enrolled; (3) chair of the department or the coordinator of the interdisciplinary program in which the student proposes to work toward the master’s degree; and (4) dean of The Graduate School. The requested approvals will be given as signatures on a form designed specifically for this program. It is the responsibility of the chair or coordinator of the graduate program to appoint the student’s graduate faculty advisory committee.
Other admission requirements for graduate study, such as the GRE and the GMAT, will be waived until the student receives the baccalaureate degree and is ready to enter The Graduate School. Until that time, admission into the accelerated program will constitute provisional admission to the graduate program. Students will register as graduate students only after receiving the baccalaureate degree and satisfying departmental and The Graduate School admission requirements.
Continuing eligibility for the accelerated master’s program will require maintenance of a 3.50 average in all courses that apply to the undergraduate degree and a 3.00 average for all graduate course work.
Students who wish to obtain a master’s degree under this program must meet all academic and residence requirements set by The Graduate School and the department concerned. Requirements for the baccalaureate degree will not be affected.
Students may take a maximum of half of the required hours for the master’s degree while enrolled as undergraduates. These hours may be applied toward the master’s degree, provided a GPA of 3.00 in graduate course work is maintained and provided none of these hours apply toward the baccalaureate degree.
A student may wish to apply some graduate course work toward the undergraduate degree. In such instances, the graduate committee can alter the distribution of course work and independent study required for the master’s degree. No course credit can be applied toward more than one degree.
Requirements for the Doctor of Philosophy Degree
The Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) is the highest earned degree offered by universities. It is conferred only for work of distinction in which the student displays decided powers of original scholarship and only in recognition of marked ability and achievement. Nothing in the following summary of minimum standards should be construed to imply that the degree will be granted merely in recognition of faithful performance of prescribed work.
Satisfaction of the minimum requirements of The Graduate School, as stipulated in this section, in no way relieves a doctoral student of responsibility for satisfying any additional requirements deemed appropriate by the graduate faculty of the degree program in which he or she is enrolled. The basic requirements are: (1) students must exhibit unmistakable evidence of mastery of a broad major field. Such evidence is ordinarily provided by passing a general examination; and (2) students must prove ability to complete a significant program of original research by preparing a dissertation embodying creative scholarship and by passing a rigorous final examination. The dissertation must add to the sum of existing knowledge and give evidence of considerable literary skill.
While the Doctor of Philosophy degree cannot be earned solely by passing courses, the program of work prescribed by a department ordinarily provides for a substantial amount of course work, equivalent to three years of full-time study (54 hours) beyond the requirements for the baccalaureate degree. Some departments require considerably more course work.
Although course work requirements are concentrated in the student’s major field, a certain amount of work may be required in one or two minor fields. If there is minor course work, the Graduate Council recommends that the minor field requirement include at least one 7000-level course. The course work and the number of hours needed to satisfy the minor field requirement are determined by the graduate faculty in the minor department. The Graduate School recommends that the minimum minor hour requirement be no less than nine hours.
Academic Course Plan
The Graduate School does not require a formal qualifying examination or procedure for doctoral students, although departments may, if they wish, administer such examinations or procedures. A student is eligible to work toward a doctoral degree beginning with the semester in which he or she is formally admitted into a doctoral program.
After meeting with the student, the advisory committee will be required to approve a departmental-level academic course plan listing all curricular requirements for the degree during the first or second semester following the student’s formal admission to the doctoral program. If the student already has a master’s degree, the departmental-level academic course plan should be formulated during the first semester; if the student is bypassing the master’s degree, formulation may be delayed until the second semester. The advisory committee, which should include at least one representative from the minor field (if appropriate), is not necessarily identical to the student’s committee for the general examination. The suggested general examination committee will be approved when the request for the general examination is submitted to The Graduate School.
The student’s departmental-level academic course plan is subject to Graduate School policy and departmental requirements. Graduate course work taken at another institution with grades of “A,” “B,” “P,” and “S,” or the equivalent, is not subject to the policy on transfer of credit for the master’s degree, and may be included in the departmental-level academic course plan if accepted by the department and the student’s advisory committee.
During the entire period of work toward the doctorate, the student’s program is directed by a special advisory committee. This advisory committee consists of three members of the graduate faculty. See the “Graduate Faculty” section for definitions of full, associate, and affiliate members of the graduate faculty. After the outlines of the program have assumed more definite form and the direction of research has been clearly established, this special committee is enlarged to three or more members with the addition of The Graduate School Dean’s Representative. This enlargement must take place prior to the general examination.
The full advisory committee must comprise at least three members of the graduate faculty, including the major professor, who acts as chair or co-chair and who must be from the major department. If either an adjunct or a non-tenure track faculty member is the major professor, a full-time tenured or tenure-track graduate faculty member must co-chair the committee.
At least one-half of the graduate faculty on doctoral committees must be full-time tenured or tenure-track faculty at LSU. A minimum of two of those faculty members must be from the student’s major department and at least one of whom must be a full member of the LSU graduate faculty. The remaining members may be from the major department or may be from outside the department if pertinent to the student’s area of concentration, with the proviso that at least one of the remaining members must be a full member of the graduate faculty.
Any declared outside minors require representation, either from among the first three members of the committee or by additional appointments to the committee. The dean of The Graduate School may serve as an ex officio member. Members of the special advisory committee are nominated by the chair of the major department and appointed by the dean of The Graduate School, who may make any changes deemed desirable.
The dean of The Graduate School appoints a member or members of the graduate faculty to serve on doctoral general and final examination committees. These individuals represent the dean and the entire graduate faculty. They are full voting members of the committee with all the rights and responsibilities of the other committee members. In the case of final examinations, it is the responsibility of the committee chair to ensure that the dean’s representatives receive copies of dissertations as soon as possible, but no later than two weeks before the date of the examination.
It is in the best interests of students that those with high probability of continuing successfully toward a doctoral degree be identified as soon as possible. Doctoral students are, therefore, required to pass a rigorous qualifying examination or the general examination within three calendar years (36 months)—or a period deemed equivalent for part-time students—of their classification as doctoral students. An exception may be made to this if a department notifies The Graduate School.
Whether a qualifying or general examination is used to meet the above requirement, the procedure should be sufficiently rigorous so as to provide reasonable confidence that the student who passes it may proceed successfully to a doctoral degree.
A student becomes eligible to take the general examination after demonstrating to the advisory committee adequate academic and professional aptitudes. Exams may be taken anytime the university is open for business. Students on probation will not be allowed to take the general examination. Students must be registered for a minimum of one to three hours of credit during the semester in which they are taking the general exam.
There is no Graduate School requirement that doctoral students pass a pre-general examination before becoming eligible to take the general examination. However, since pre-general examination requirements may be retained by individual departments, students should check with the appropriate departmental office concerning this requirement.
A request for the general examination must be submitted to The Graduate School by the student’s department chair at least three weeks prior to the proposed examination date. This request must state the time and place proposed and the names of faculty members nominated to serve as the examining committee. Under ordinary circumstances, these will be the members of the enlarged advisory committee and one or more representatives of the graduate faculty will be appointed by the dean of The Graduate School. Any additions to or changes in the makeup of this committee must be approved in advance by the dean of The Graduate School. At this time the final departmental-level academic course plan should be completed and submitted to The Graduate School with the “Request for General Exam.”
The general examination is ordinarily the most rigorous test in the entire doctoral program. In order for the student to pass this examination, there may not be more than one dissenting vote. Dissenting votes, along with assenting votes, must be recorded on the examination cards submitted to The Graduate School.
The examination may be oral, written, or both oral and written, according to the rules of the major department. However, the minor department (if an outside minor has been declared) retains the right to decide the format of its part of the examination. The examination must be comprehensive enough to demonstrate expert competence over broad segments of the major field and a high degree of familiarity with the content of and current progress in one or more minor fields (if appropriate).
The general examination should be regarded as the culmination of a student’s program in course work. In most cases, the remaining time spent obtaining the degree is to be devoted to concentrated work on the dissertation and preparation for the final examination. When a student passes the general examination, examination cards should be completed in duplicate and forwarded by faculty and staff only to The Graduate School.
Continuous Registration Requirement
Doctoral candidates must maintain continuous registration for a minimum of three semester hours of credit each regular semester (excluding summers) from the completion of the general examination to the end of the semester in which an approved dissertation is submitted to The Graduate School.
The dean of The Graduate School may exempt a student from the continuous registration requirement upon departmental certification that the student is in absentia from the university and is not drawing directly upon university resources. Exemptions are intended to accommodate students whose dissertation research requires extended periods of absence for field work in distant archives and laboratories; exemptions are not intended for students who have accepted positions as employees in business, industry, or education.
Students who have passed the general examination normally direct most of their energies toward preparation of the dissertation, which must be a contribution to knowledge in the major field of study. The dissertation must demonstrate a mastery of research techniques, ability to do original and independent research, and skill in formulating conclusions that in some way enlarge upon or modify accepted ideas.
The form of the dissertation must be in accordance with the instructions in the electronic thesis and dissertation guidelines available online at etd.lsu.edu.
LSU Alumni Association Distinguished Dissertation Award
The Distinguished Dissertation Award, consisting of $2,000 and a certificate, is presented annually to two doctoral students whose research and writing epitomize superior scholarship. One award is designated for a student in the arts, humanities, or social sciences and one for a student in science, engineering, or technology. These awards are made each spring in conjunction with the Distinguished Research Master Award.
A request for the final examination must be submitted to The Graduate School by the student’s department chair at least three weeks prior to the proposed examination date or by the current semester deadline, if the student is a candidate for a degree (see the academic calendar for all pertinent dates). This request must specify the major and minor fields (if appropriate), dissertation title, time and place proposed for the examination, and nominations for the examining committee. The examining committee, including the dean’s representative, must have copies of the dissertation at least two weeks prior to the final examination. Exams may be taken anytime the university is open for business.
Permission to hold the final examination will be granted by the dean of The Graduate School only after all the foregoing conditions are satisfied and three (3) calendar months have elapsed since the student passed the general examination.
The dean of The Graduate School will approve the final examination committee. In most cases, it will consist of the student’s special advisory committee or a similarly constituted group to which one or more additions may have been made as representatives of the dean and the graduate faculty. Any additions to or changes in the makeup of this committee must be approved in advance of the examination.
Although the final examination is traditionally conducted as an oral test primarily concerned with the dissertation and related problems, the committee determines procedure and content, which may extend into subject matter related to major and minor fields (if appropriate), even though well removed from topics suggested by the dissertation.
In order for the student to pass this examination, there may not be more than one dissenting vote. Dissenting votes, along with assenting votes, must be recorded on the examination cards and the approval sheets submitted to The Graduate School.
Timely Completion of the Degree after the Final Exam
Approved dissertations, including Graduate School corrections, must be submitted to The Graduate School no later than the deadline for submission of approved dissertations in the regular semester following the final examination. A final examination may be voided by the dean of The Graduate School for failure to submit the approved dissertation in a timely manner as described.
Application for Degree
Early in each semester or summer term, there is a deadline for submitting the “Application for Degree” to The Graduate School. Doctoral candidates are required to submit the “Application for Degree” form.
Submission of this form carries with it the implication that the student intends to graduate that semester. If circumstances prevent graduation, a “Request for Deree Update” form must be submitted to The Graduate School by the designated deadline for the semester in which the student plans to graduate.
Certification of Completion of Requirements
Upon timely submission of the “Application for Degree,” when the student has passed the final examination with no more than one member of the committee dissenting, and upon submitting a dissertation in acceptable form to The Graduate School, the student will be certified to the LSU Board of Supervisors by the dean of The Graduate School as having fulfilled all requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy. This certification takes place at the next commencement, at which time the degree is conferred.
The program for the doctoral degree must be completed within seven years from the time a student is classified as a doctoral student. This time limit may not be exceeded except by special permission of the advisory committee, department chair and college dean. A formal meeting of the advisory committee must be held to approve any time limit extension. No less than three calendar months may elapse between the passing of the general examination and the completion of all requirements for the doctoral degree.
Requirements for the Doctor of Musical Arts Degree
The Doctor of Musical Arts (DMA) is a professional degree in music. The course work, residence requirements, and examination sequences are similar to those for the PhD degree. Major differences in the two programs are in the dissertation and minor field requirements (if appropriate).
For the special admission and course requirements for this degree, consult the School of Music.
FULFILLING DOCTORAL DEGREE REQUIREMENTS
Prepare Departmental-Level Academic Course Plan
During the first semester after the master’s degree is awarded or during the first full year of full-time graduate study for a student not taking the master’s degree.
Request General Examination
After completing most course work.
Request for the general examination must be submitted to The Graduate School by the student’s department chair at least three weeks prior to the proposed examination date.
Request Final Examination
At least three calendar months after passing the general examination.
Request for the final examination must be submitted to The Graduate School by the student’s department chair at least three weeks prior to the proposed examination date or by the current semester deadline, if the student is a candidate for the doctoral degree.
Graduate Faculty Membership Status:
Graduate faculty membership status is indicated by a number plus a letter or just by letter as follows:
(M) Full member
(7M) Seven (7) year member
(6A) Six (6) year associate member
(3A) Three (3) year associate member
(3F) Three (3) year affiliate member
(3P) Three (3) year professional member
(EM) Emeritus full member status
(EA) Emeritus associate member status
Full descriptions of graduate faculty status can be found here.
Please note that graduate faculty status is subject to change. Current graduate faculty status can be checked here.
University Policy Statements
This section includes links to the full text of two university policy statements that are of special interest to graduate students. PS-21 governs the entire graduate assistantship program; PS-85 deals specifically with the preparation of teaching assistants for instructional duties.
Other applicable Policy Statements, Permanent Memoranda, and additional rules and regulations are listed on the LSU Website. Students should pay particular attention to PM-64 and PS-106.
PS-21 • Graduate Assistantships
The primary mission of the LSU Graduate School is to promote excellence in graduate education. Part of this responsibility mandates that The Graduate School develop policies governing the appointment and evaluation of graduate assistants (GAs) and monitor their implementation by employing units.
These policies include setting minimum academic qualifications for holding GA appointments, establishing appointment and renewal procedures, setting average workloads, and reviewing stipend levels and ranges.
This policy statement outlines procedures and guidelines affecting the graduate assistantship program. For special policies on the preparation of teaching assistants for instructional duties in classrooms and laboratories, see PS-85, Preparation of Teaching Assistants.
To lay out principles and requirements for the assignment, preparation, supervision, and evaluation of graduate teaching assistants at Louisiana State University.
Excellence in undergraduate and graduate instruction is central to the mission of the university. Preparation in pedagogy in a variety of teaching situations is an integral part of the education of graduate students. Accordingly, the graduate faculty must be committed to designing appropriate programs for the assignment, preparation, supervision, and evaluation of graduate teaching assistants with the aim of enhancing graduate student preparation and undergraduate learning. This policy statement should be read in the context of the general institutional policy on graduate assistantships as
set forth in PS-21.
The graduate program descriptions below include, for each major field, a variety of subheadings—program overview, administration, degree programs, the graduate faculty (including research areas), and other information of interest to students and applicants. These pages represent departmental and interdepartmental programs in which formal degrees are offered. Also included are interdepartmental programs that do not offer degrees. In these programs, a student enrolls in one of the participating departments and earns his or her degree in that department, although his or her research is done through the interdepartmental program.
For additional information about any graduate program at LSU, please contact the appropriate department.
All degree programs are listed by title followed by the LSU curriculum code, e.g.:
Master of Science (MS) in Petroleum Engineering (MSPE)
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Political Science (PPOLI)
A complete listing of degree programs offered can be found here.