2019-2020 Graduate Catalog

Admission to Graduate Study

M.A., M.S., M.S.Ed., and M.B.A.

An applicant for admission to graduate study must hold a baccalaureate degree from an institution of higher learning accredited by the appropriate regional accrediting agency. The applicant must complete the Application for Admission to Graduate School. This form may be obtained online under "Apply Now".  A final transcript of baccalaureate degree and any previous graduate work must be verified by official transcripts showing both the credit and grade earned. Admission to graduate study is not the same as admission to candidacy for a master’s degree. Each graduate program has specific admission policies in addition to the policies for admission to graduate study. Students needing special accommodations should contact the Graduate Office no less than 48 hours prior to attending Northwest Missouri State University. (See appropriate program in this catalog.)

There are three categories for admission:

  1. Regular admission to graduate study requires a cumulative undergraduate GPA of 2.50 on a 4.00 scale and official scores from the GRE or GMAT test or alternative admission requirements. This admission does not constitute admission to a specific program. See specific program requirements in this catalog. A writing assessment is required during the first semester of enrollment. Graduate students who earn below a 3.00 grade point average for two consecutive terms of enrollment will be suspended for one term. A student who has been re-admitted after a one-term suspension and who does not achieve a 3.00 grade point average for the term of re-admission will not be permitted to continue in that master’s degree program.
  2. Conditional admission to graduate study may be allowed if the student's undergraduate GPA does not meet the GPA as required by the department. The student must achieve a 3.00 GPA in his or her first eight semester hours of graduate study or be subject to suspension for one calendar year. This conditional admission does not constitute admission to a specific program. See specific program requirements in this catalog. A writing assessment is required during the first semester of enrollment. Conditionally-admitted students, initially enrolled in eight or more hours, who withdraw from all graduate classes during their enrollment as a conditional student, will also be suspended from graduate study for one calendar year. Re-admission is possible after one year by application for re-admission to the program.
  3. Admission as a non-degree graduate student for professional growth purposes requires that the student furnish proof of a baccalaureate degree from an institution accredited by a regional accrediting association. The student will be classified as a “non-degree” graduate student. A non-degree seeking student, who later wishes to enter a degree program, must undergo the full application and admission review process. No more than nine graduate hours earned as a non-degree student may be applied or transferred into a regular degree program. Graduate students enrolled in graduate certificate programs or in programs planned for certification only, may apply additional credits toward the degree if approved by the program advisor. Courses applied to the degree may not be older than eight years. Non-degree seeking students are not eligible for Financial Assistance.


Admission to the Ed.S. program requires completion of an Application for Admission to Graduate School. Students must also submit official copies of undergraduate (from the institution in which the baccalaureate degree was completed) and graduate transcript(s) showing evidence of a completed master’s degree from a regionally-accredited institution of higher education. A valid teaching certificate must also be filed. For regular admission, the minimum grade point average must be 3.25. Conditional admission is allowed if the student’s cumulative graduate GPA is between 3.00 and 3.24. The student must achieve a 3.25 GPA in his or her first eight or more semester hours of graduate study or be subject to suspension for one year. Re-admission is possible after one year by petition to be approved by the Ed.S. faculty, the dean of the College of Education and Human Services, and the Dean of the Graduate School. See the School of Education section of this catalog in regard to letters of recommendation, screening procedures and other requirements.

GRE/GMAT Requirements

See specific program requirements in this catalog.

Transfer Credit

Only students who are in good standing as graduate students at a regionally-accredited institution are eligible to apply as graduate transfer students.

No more than nine semester hours of graduate credit consisting of no more than four courses may be transferred for a graduate program. Transfer credit must be from a regionally-accredited institution. The acceptance of the full nine hours is conditional on the applicability to the student’s planned degree program. The student must be working on a specific master’s degree at Northwest and have completed the Degree Audit Agreement in order to receive consideration for eligible transfer credit. The student’s advisor must request, in writing, consideration of potential transfer credit from the Dean of the Graduate School. Transfer credit is not processed for non-degree or certification graduate students. Transfer credit applied toward a degree may not be older than eight years.

Only work evaluated “B” or above is acceptable for transfer credit and applicable to a specific master’s degree program. Coursework taken for ungraded credit cannot be used toward a degree. Official transcripts must show that the credit is at the graduate level. No transfer credit will be accepted for courses taken by correspondence.

A student working toward the Ed.S. degree may transfer up to eight semester hours of credit from a regionally-accredited institution offering the specialist degree, if the courses are appropriate and are approved by the student’s committee, if the student has grades of “B” or better, and if the credit fits into the time limit for completion of the Ed.S. degree.

Courses will be prescribed in lieu of specific requirements for those who have already completed these requirements at another institution.

Credit completed at any institution as part of an advanced degree from that institution is not acceptable for transfer toward a graduate degree at Northwest.

Northwest has the option of not accepting transfer credit from a regionally- or nationally- accredited institution for courses offered by that institution in a state outside of the state where the institution has its home campus.

International Student Admission

Before deciding to attend Northwest, the international student should examine his or her financial situation very carefully. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security - and its related departments of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Student Exchange Visitor Program, and Citizenship and Immigration Services - requires Northwest to certify that international students have been fully accepted in a graduate master’s program for full-time enrollment (degree-seeking) and have sufficient funds to meet all expenses for one academic year: tuition, housing, transportation, etc. Northwest requires a Statement of Support from the student’s family, sponsor, or government. The statement certifies that tuition, room and board, and personal funds are available, and that the student is permitted to export and exchange those funds into the United States. Without this certification, no I-20 form can be issued.

Students entering Northwest are required to have a reading, writing, and conversational knowledge of the English language. If the student’s secondary education was obtained from a non-English speaking school or a school in which the medium of instruction is not English, and that student was hired as a teaching graduate assistant, then he or she is required to meet an English language requirement. Northwest accepts the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL), the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) or the Pearson Test of English (PTE).

Minimum score requirements are:

TOEFL: 550 paper and pencil

       213 computer based

       79-80 Internet based

IELTS: 6.5 overall band score

PTE:    53

International students are required to have an approved health insurance plan. The student is charged for Northwest’s approved plan. If the international student has a health insurance plan before entering the University, they must contact the International Affairs Office within the first two weeks of classes for approval of that policy. If approval is given, then the charge for Northwest’s policy is removed from their bill.

New International Students

To be fully admitted to Northwest, students must submit the following items to the Northwest Office of Admissions, Northwest Missouri State University, 800 University Drive, Maryville, Missouri, 64468-6001, USA. Forms are available by request from the Northwest Office of Admissions or the Graduate Office.

  1. Complete International Application including supplemental and financial information (requires sponsor signature and notary seal). Application deadlines for programs with the exception of programs in the Department of Behavioral Sciences or the Department of Humanities and Social Sciences are: Fall – July 1, Spring – November 1, Summer – April 1; Guidance and Counseling accepts new students into the program only in Summer. Applications for this program are due March 1. Geographic Information Science and Applied Computer Science accept new students into the program in Fall and Spring only. See department information for application deadline.
  2. Official academic transcripts from each secondary and post-secondary institution attended. If students are currently enrolled in a college or university, they should send official partial transcripts. All transcripts become the property of Northwest and cannot be released.
  3. GMAT (for M.B.A. only) or GRE general test scores when required by program. See specific program for requirements.
  4. Application fee in U.S. currency. (See “Fees and Costs.”)
  5. Score report from the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL), the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) or the Pearson Test of English (PTE). English proficiency scores can be no older than two years when students enroll. Minimum score requirements are:

    TOEFL: 550 paper and pencil,

               213 computer based,

               79-80 Internet based

    IELTS: 6.5 overall band score

    PTE:    53

  6. Financial statement from a banking institution to certify that tuition, room and board, and personal funds for one academic year are available. Without this certification, no I-20 form can be issued.
  7. Copy of passport.

Upon receipt of all these items, international students will be notified of acceptance or denial. The accepted student will receive a completed I-20 form which they must then present to a U.S. Consulate when applying for their student (F-1) visa. Student visas should be obtained before entering the United States, as converting from a tourist visa to a student visa is by no means assured.

International Transfer Students

In addition to the items listed under the "International Student Admission" section, graduate international students who are transferring to Northwest Missouri State University from another American university should also submit a Transfer Form to the Northwest Office of Admissions. This form can be found in the International Student Application or contact the Office of Admissions. Graduate international students must also meet the guidelines set by the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service; check with your current institution.

The maximum graduate credit accepted for transfer is nine semester hours in no more than four courses. In order for graduate transfer credits to be evaluated, the prospective graduate student must also file a Degree Audit Form with the Northwest Graduate Office. To be considered for transfer credit, courses must have a grade of “B” or higher and may not be older than eight years at the time of degree completion.

Admission to Graduate Study

International students must meet all admission requirements as described in “Admission to Graduate Study.” Students must also meet any conditions described by a specific department.

Whether the undergraduate degree is from a foreign university or from an American university, graduate students should also submit the items listed in "International Student Admission." The prerequisites for admission to graduate school are:

  • A baccalaureate-level degree from either an accredited American university or a foreign institution. If the degree is from a foreign institution, the student may have to continue undergraduate studies to fulfill Northwest requirements.
  • A cumulative undergraduate grade point average of at least 2.50 on a 4.00 scale, or as required by program. Students who have a cumulative GPA between 2.20 and 2.49 may be admitted on a conditional basis. For admission to a specific program see the program requirements.
  • A score report from the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) General Test (if required by the program) must be submitted prior to consideration for acceptance if pursuing a Master of Arts, a Master of Science, a Master of Science in Education, or a Specialist in Education degree. M.S.Ed. Guidance and Counseling students must submit GRE general test scores before entry according to departmental requirements. If students are pursuing a Master of Business Administration degree, a score report from the Graduate Management Admissions Test (GMAT), Graduate Record Examination (GRE), or major field achievement test must be submitted prior to consideration for acceptance.

The international student should allow approximately two months from the time all application documents are reviewed for notification of acceptance. Admission to graduate study does not constitute admission to a specific graduate program nor to candidacy for a degree.

An international student with an education degree from a foreign university may work toward an M.S.Ed. degree based on his or her undergraduate major, with the understanding that Northwest will not recommend him or her for certification anywhere in the United States unless he or she meets all certification requirements for educational programs as outlined in Northwest's current undergraduate academic catalog.

The student is eligible to study for the M.A., M.B.A., M.S., or Ed.S. degree if he or she meets admission and candidacy requirements as previously specified.


Times for graduate registration will be announced each semester. Courses numbered at the 500 level are available for upper division undergraduate as well as graduate students. (Students enrolling in 500-level courses for graduate credit will meet additional requirements as stated in the course syllabus.) Courses at the 600 level are for graduate students only. Courses at the 700 level are available only to Specialist in Education students. Courses at the 800 level are available only to doctoral students. No course numbered below 500 is available for graduate credit. A minimum of 16 credits of 600-level courses are required for all master’s degrees. The remaining credits must be graduate level courses.

Graduate students may register for regularly-scheduled courses by contacting their advisor or the Graduate Office at 660-562-1144.

Undergraduate students who have met the requirements for dual enrollment may preregister as usual. Undergraduate students are not permitted to enroll in 600-level graduate credit courses unless approved for dual enrollment. (See “Academic Policies.” ) Students may not dual enroll in 600-level courses by computer. Enrollment in 600-level courses must be completed in the Registrar’s Office.

Each graduate student should consult the listing of department advisors and meet with his or her advisor before registration concerning the applicability of any course to his or her program as well as for any other concern.

Admission to Candidacy

Admission to graduate study is not the equivalent of admission to candidacy for a master’s degree.

The decision on a student’s admission to candidacy for a master’s degree will be made after the student has completed a minimum of eight semester hours of graduate credit in residence (18 hours for Guidance and Counseling), has a “B” or better average in his or her major field, and at least a “B” average in all work attempted. Decisions on candidacy will be guided by scholarship at the graduate level, evidences of professional competence, results of the GRE General Test or GMAT, as appropriate, results of other achievement tests if administered, the student’s Degree Audit, other conditions specified by the department, and recommendations from the student’s advisor and/or instructors.

The student may not continue past 15 graduate hours unless he or she has met the requirements for candidacy in the program and has agreed to the Degree Audit as determined with their graduate program advisor.

In addition to approval of a degree audit, admission to candidacy for the M.S.Ed. requires documentation of having met all certification requirements and approval for the appropriate level and teaching area(s) from any state. The documentation will remain on file with the Dean of the Graduate School. Students who are earning the teaching certificate as part of their graduate studies may be admitted to candidacy if the Teaching Certificate specifies all courses required to earn a Missouri Teaching Certificate. Applicants whose objectives are in non-public education may be approved by the individual program, if appropriate, without meeting certification requirements. See individual programs for exceptions.

For the M.S.Ed., M.B.A., M.A., or M.S. degrees, undergraduate courses specified by the department or college in which the applicant plans to do his or her major study may also be required. Any additional requirements specified by the department or college must also be met.

Students who are conditionally admitted or who do not qualify for conditional admission may not be admitted to candidacy until after they have completed eight semester hours of graduate study with a “B” or better grade point average and have met all other candidacy requirements.

The admission to candidacy procedures for the Ed.S. degree are described in the School of Education section.

Graduate Research or Professional Development Requirement

All graduate students must complete a research or professional development component as part of their requirements for graduation. The requirement may be met through at least one of the four options as prescribed for the individual’s approved program. These options are:

  • Scholarly Paper:  A scholarly paper is a monograph of research conducted by the student that may or may not be experimental in nature.  Term papers meeting these specifications can qualify as scholarly papers. These papers can be written either individually or as a team as directed by the academic program. The student’s advisor must approve the scholarly paper.
  • Thesis:  A thesis is an in-depth scholarly examination of a particular topic that makes a contribution to the student’s academic field. The specific format of the thesis may vary by academic department. The thesis requires approval of the supervising graduate faculty member, the thesis committee, and the Dean of the Graduate School. An oral defense of the thesis before the thesis committee is required. The thesis will be submitted electronically to the Dean of the Graduate School for approval by a prearranged date.
  • Professional Development Experience:  A professional development experience may take the form of an internship, designated capstone class, or other prescribed experience appropriate to the discipline of the specific graduate program.
  • Comprehensive Assessment:  A comprehensive assessment is administered in the term in which the student expects to receive the degree and evaluates the student's broad knowledge of the field. The comprehensive assessment may take one (or more) of several forms: multiple choice, take-home essay(s), timed sit-down essay(s), reflective portfolio essay(s), and national standardized tests.

Guidelines for submitting thesis: In submitting the thesis electronically, the following conditions must be met: (1) The approved graduate guidelines (available online or from the Graduate Office) must be followed for general format; (2) A specific manual prescribed by the department must be followed for the internal format of the paper; (3) Careful attention must be given to all composition skills involved; (4) An errorless original document must be submitted electronically to the Graduate Office for final approval and; (5) Consistent typing with a uniform font must be evident for the entire thesis, except for tables, charts, figures, images, photography, or similar insertions. 

If approved, the thesis will be forwarded to the B.D. Owens Library. Binding of the thesis will be the responsibility of the student. Each graduate program within the department should keep files of significant research completed by their master’s degree recipients.

Northwest Missouri State University subscribes to the policy that all research involving human subjects which is conducted by faculty, students, or staff must be reviewed and approved by the Institutional Review Board prior to the initiation of the research.

Northwest Missouri State University subscribes to the policy that all research involving animals which is conducted by faculty, students, or staff must be reviewed and approved by the Animal Welfare Committee prior to the initiation of the research. The Animal Welfare Committee meets once a trimester or when needed.

Guidelines for Comprehensive Assessment: Students who require special accommodations for comprehensive assessment should contact the Department no less than 48 hours prior to test date. The student must have been admitted to candidacy to be eligible to attempt the comprehensive assessment and must have a 3.00 GPA in all coursework. Students must contact their Program Advisor or Department no later than the third week of the trimester the student plans to complete the comprehensive assessment. Approval will be determined by the Associate Provost of Graduate Studies and Special Programs in consultation with the student’s advisor. If students lack two required courses (maximum of six semester hours), they may apply to complete the comprehensive assessment. The maximum number of times the student may attempt the comprehensive assessment for the master’s degree is three, in three separate sessions, in fall, spring, or summer. The Specialist in Education candidate may request approval to attempt the comprehensive assessment once after failing.


The student must complete all applicable general requirements as well as those outlined for degree programs and pass the comprehensive assessment requirement.

The student must have been admitted to candidacy, and he or she must have been recommended for graduation in the prescribed manner. Recommendations for award of the graduate degrees originate with the Graduate Council, and are acted upon by the President and the Board of Regents.

At the beginning of the last semester of enrollment, the degree candidate must complete a Final Application for  Graduate Degree (available online). The graduation fee (see “Fees and Costs”) is assessed whether or not the student plans to participate in commencement exercises.

Information regarding commencement exercises and ordering of cap, gown, and hood will be sent to your University email account.

Courses not required for the master’s or specialist degree that show an in-progress (IP) grade at the time of the degree conferral will not hinder the degree conferral. However, when completed and graded, those courses will be reflected within the time frame of the degree, causing the hours to count as part of the degree.

Participation in the Commencement Ceremony

Students typically participate in the commencement ceremony during the semester in which the degree is earned. A student may participate in the commencement ceremony one semester before earning the degree if the student has 6 or fewer credit hours remaining to earn the degree in the following semester. A student who participates in commencement in the semester prior to earning the degree does not have to have completed the comprehensive exam, portfolio or the research component in order to participate in the commencement ceremony. Students who have earned the degree and who did not participate in commencement may participate in a later commencement ceremony. Students who want to participate in a commencement ceremony in a semester before or after the degree is earned must contact the Graduate Office six weeks prior to commencement.