Frequently Asked Questions

Prospective Students

Find answers to common questions asked by prospective students. For additional questions, please contact the LSU Graduate Admissions Office at 225-578-1641, or email gradadmission@lsu.edu.

How do I find out if LSU offers the program I’m interested in?

Our Programs & Degrees section has information about over 120 graduate degree programs offered by LSU.

How do I apply for a graduate degree program? 

Review the Steps to Apply and complete an application online.

What are the admission requirements?

The Office of Graduate Admissions determines eligibility for domestic applicants and international applicants. Individual academic departments or colleges may impose more restrictive admission requirements. Please contact the academic department for specific requirements and deadlines.


What is the minimum grade-point average (GPA) required for admission?

The Graduate School requires a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 (2.5 for non-degree seeking students) for the last 60 semester hours in the previous undergraduate or graduate program.

Some departments may require a higher GPA. Please consult the intended degree program for more information.

What is a graduate certificate? What certificates does LSU offer? How do I apply?

Graduate Certificates are designed to support additional expertise or further develop expertise gained in a degree program. Admissions requirements and other information is located in each certificate's description. 

How do I apply if I want to take a few courses without getting a graduate degree?

You can apply as a non-degree seeking student. Keep in mind that courses taken as a non-degree seeking student may not apply towards a future degree. International students who are seeking or maintaining the F-1 student visa status are able to apply as non-degree seeking students.

How many credit hours while taken as a non-degree student can be transferred into a graduate degree program?

The maximum number of hours that can later be transferred from the non-degree classification into a graduate degree program is 12 hours (with no more than 6 hours at the 6000 level or above).

Are non-degree students held to the same rules and regulations as a graduate student?

Non-degree students are held to all of the same rules and regulations as degree seeking students, including maintaining a semester and LSU cumulative GPA of 3.00.

What kind of financial support can I expect as a graduate student?

LSU offers several different types of funding, including graduate assistantships and dissertation fellowships. 

What’s a satisfactory score on the GRE/GMAT?

This is determined by the specific program and department you’re applying to. Consult the department’s website for more information.

Can I apply if I haven’t taken the GRE/GMAT yet?

Most departments will not review a file until the application is complete, which includes any required test scores. You may apply at any time, but you cannot be unconditionally admitted until scores are received. The ETS institution code for the Graduate School is 6373.

What are official documents?

Official documents are sent directly from the testing servicer and university registrar’s offices. ETS test scores can be sent to LSU using the LSU Graduate School institution code of 6373; other test scores can be sent by selecting LSU from their list of universities. Photocopies of test score reports are not official, but uploading them with your application may help speed up processing time. You may upload unofficial copies of your transcripts with your application. If you are admitted, the Graduate School will require official transcripts if you did not submit them with your application. Official transcripts must be sent directly from the registrar’s office or other appropriate official from your university and must be in a sealed envelope. If your university offers electronic official transcripts, they can be sent to gradtranscripts@lsu.edu.

Do you accept foreign credential evaluations?

All academic records that are not in English must be evaluated by a service recognized by an American Translators Association (ATA) or National Association of Credential Evaluation Services (NACES) agency. 

What are additional supporting documents?

A resume or curriculum vitae is required for all applicants. Many degree programs also require supplemental materials such as a statement of purpose, a list of undergraduate courses completed in the discipline, or other specialized materials. Consult the department’s website for further information on required supporting documents.

What is the deadline for applying to Graduate School?

The Graduate School's deadlines are listed below. Individual departments and programs may set deadlines that are much earlier than this deadline. Consult the department’s website for application deadlines. If you are seeking financial aid, including assistantships and fellowships, departments generally decide upon awards early in the calendar year. You are strongly urged to apply early to be considered for aid.

Application Deadlines

The University deadlines are listed below; however, most academic programs have earlier deadlines than those established by the University, or may admit only for a specific term. Prospective applicants must contact the academic program for those deadlines.

Fall Spring Summer
Domestic Students June 30 November 15 May 1
International Students April 15  October 1 April 15
Non-Degree Students August 23 January 17 May 16

LSU Online has established their own set of deadlines for each term. Visit their website for more information. 

Can I receive financial assistance for the application processing fee?

There are a limited number of application fee waivers on a first-come, first-serve basis to applicants who are U.S. citizens or permanent residents and who belong to under-represented groups or who hold active or veteran military status. Applicants affiliated with the following programs should fill out the waiver request form and other required documents online.

How can I check on the status of my application?

You should check the status of your application first through the application self-service center.

Email inquiries may be sent to gradadmission@lsu.edu.

When will I be notified whether or not I’m admitted?

Once your application has been referred to the department, it is up to that department to make the recommendation on your application. The final admissions decision will be available on the application self-service center and you’ll receive an email from LSU Graduate Admissions Office directing you to retrieve your admissions decision.

When will I receive my I-20 documents (international applicants)?

International services will e-mail you about the I-20 after receiving notification of your official admission by the Graduate School.

When can I register for courses?

Domestic applicants: once you have been formally admitted to the Graduate School, you may schedule courses using MyLSU

International applicants in F-1 or J-1 student status: you typically cannot schedule classes, pay tuition/fees and complete course registration until after arriving to campus and attending the International Student Orientation.

How do I become a Louisiana resident for tuition purposes?

For more information regarding residency status, see PM-31 and Louisiana residency for tuition purposes.

Current Students

Find answers to common questions asked by current students. For additional questions, please contact Academic Services at 225-578-2311, or email gradsvcs@lsu.edu.

When is Graduate Student Orientation for new students?

Graduate Student Orientation is held annually in August on the Wednesday before the first day of classes. This orientation is for students admitted in the Spring, Summer, and Fall terms.

A detailed email notification will be sent to all students with a completed and processed application and admitted by August 1.

Does LSU offer a health insurance policy for graduate students to enroll?

Yes. Please see the Student Health Center or Gallagher’s homepage for additional information.

What are the guidelines regarding research ethics and academic integrity?

All students are responsible for familiarizing themselves with the LSU's Code of Student Conduct. Additionally, please consult the Office of Research Compliance.

How do I get a new Dean’s Representative on my committee if my current one is no longer at the University or unable to participate in my exam?

Please email the Graduate Student Services Office and include the following information in your email: degree program, graduate minors (if applicable), list of existing committee members, and defense date (if applicable).

What should I do to add or change a thesis/dissertation committee member?

First, ensure that the new member has Graduate Faculty status and discuss the addition/change with your committee chair. Your committee chair and department chair will then send a memo to the Graduate Academic Services Office stating that you would like to add a person to the committee or change someone in the committee.

How long does it take for the Graduate School to process my form or petition?

In general, forms and petitions are processed in 3-5 business days.

What is the Graduate School’s readmission policy?

Previously enrolled graduate students who fail to enroll for three or more consecutive semesters, including summer term, must reapply.

How do I drop a course?

As long as you are not dropping your only class for the current semester, you can drop on MyLSU until the drop deadline. If you are on a graduate assistantship, a degree candidate for the current semester, or an international student, you may not drop below full-time status (9 graduate hours). 

To drop your only class for the semester, you must officially resign from the university by filling out a Resignation/Cancellation of Registration form. This form can be picked up in the lobby of West David Boyd Hall. The form must be delivered to and signed by several other offices on campus; once complete, it is turned in to the Bursar’s office in 125 Thomas Boyd Hall.

Where do I get a copy of my LSU transcript?

Copies of your transcript may be ordered through MyLSU.

Can doctoral students transfer course work from other universities?

Please contact your department for further information.

How do I change my degree program?

If changing degrees within the same department, your graduate advisor should send a memo to the Program Officer for your college. If applying to change to a degree in a different department, you must fill out a Change of Department form and submit it according to the instructions.

Can I take a semester off?

Please contact your department for further information.

What is the time limit for a degree program?

The time limit for a Master’s Degree program is five years. Doctoral degrees must be complete within seven years.

What steps should I take if I am a Graduate Assistant and charged a non-resident fee and or tuition?

Make sure that your department has processed the appropriate appointment before the semester deadlines (March 1, July 1, or October 1). It usually takes 4-5 working days to process an appointment. Check your Billing Statement on MyLSU to see if the adjustment has been made. 

Am I eligible to become a Louisiana resident?

Please see PM-31 and Louisiana Residency for Tuition Purposes for further information.

How do I pay my registration fees?

Fees can be paid online through MyLSU by bank draft or credit card. Fees can also be paid with cash, check, or credit card at the Bursar’s Office, 125 Thomas Boyd Hall.

Where do I find information on formatting and submitting my thesis or dissertation?

Please see our Thesis and Dissertation Formatting and Submission Information page.

How do I make an appointment with the thesis and dissertation reviewer?

You can make an appointment by phone at 225-578-2311. You can also visit the lobby of W. David Boyd Hall for scheduling.

What should I bring to my appointment with the thesis and dissertation reviewer? 

Bring an unbound copy of your PDF document, printed on plain paper, and check-in in the lobby of W. David Boyd Hall.

What is the Thesis and Dissertation Submission deadline on the Graduate School calendar?

The submission deadline is the final date for students to upload their documents to Digital Commons. The student must have successfully defended, their Thesis or Dissertation must be uploaded to Digital Commons, approval sheets signed by committee members and emailed to the Graduate Student Services Office, and the Survey of Earned Doctorates completion certificate (for Doctoral students) must be emailed to the editor by 4:30 pm on the date of the submission deadline. It is STRONGLY RECOMMENDED that you defend a couple weeks prior to the submission deadline in order to have an adequate amount of time to make corrections requested by your committee.

What is the approval deadline on the Graduate School Calendar?

The approval deadline is the final day by which edits requested by the editor MUST be completed. Take note that there may be several edits requested and your first time editing may not complete all edits. The editor generally allows 24 hours for edits to be sent back in order for her to check the document again and send further edits in case some were missed the first time. By this date, all non-thesis defense results must be turned in.

Do I have to submit my document electronically? Does the Graduate School have a specific format students should use when finalizing their Theses and Dissertations?

Yes, the editor has provided the Formatting Guidelines for Theses and Dissertations which students should refer to as they are finalizing their document. All documents must be submitted electronically as a PDF document.

Can I embargo or restrict online access to my thesis or dissertation?

Information on embargoes can be found in the Formatting Guidelines for Theses and Dissertations.

What is a Dean’s Representative, and what are the responsibilities she or he performs?

Although adherence to policy is the concern of all graduate committee members, it is the special responsibility of the Dean's Representative who represents the Graduate School and the university to ensure that all policies and procedures of the Graduate School and the department are followed and to see that the final milestones in the doctoral program—the general examination and the dissertation defense—take place in an orderly, transparent, and equitable manner.  Serving as a Dean's Representative is a basic responsibility of all Graduate Faculty for the university-wide academic community. 

The Dean’s Representative is a full member of the doctoral committee. The Dean’s Representative must be appointed to the committee at the time the general examination is scheduled, and must receive all scheduling requests and materials pertaining to the general examination and the dissertation in the same timely manner as the rest of the committee members.

Although it is possible that the Dean’s Representative may be knowledgeable and take an active role in the student’s dissertation, that is by no means a requirement. The Dean’s Representative should plan to attend the general examination and the final dissertation defense, each of which averages two hours. Reading the dissertation is a choice by the Dean’s Representative, not a requirement.

Although we anticipate the Dean’s Representative responding to a brief survey in future, the Dean’s Representative is welcome at any time to contact the Dean of the Graduate School (whether by telephone, letter, email or a visit) with comments, concerns, or suggestions. 

How much time is involved in serving as a Dean’s Representative?

The role of the Dean’s Representative is not very time consuming.  Doctoral exams typically last about 2 hours, although some will run longer.  Prior to the exam date, the Dean’s Representative may choose to spend some time reading the materials provided by the student.  Students occasionally will request advice from the Dean’s Representative regarding dissertation preparation.  The Dean’s Representative will determine how much time is needed in providing support to a student requesting advice from his or her DR.

In serving as a Dean’s Representative, am I required to have any knowledge related to the student’s field of research?

No. Background experience related to the student’s discipline and research is not a requirement to serve as Dean’s Representative.  The Dean’s Representative’s primary responsibility is to ensure the integrity of the examination procedures by serving as a committee member and observer from an outside department.

As a Dean’s Representative, will I have any materials to prepare?

No. As noted above, reading exams or the dissertation is the option of the DR, not a requirement.   

How often do I have to serve as Dean’s Representative?

There is no set minimum for service to the scholarly community as a Dean’s Representative.   Your own schedule and interests will determine whether or not you accept each invitation.  You will probably be asked to serve about once every 2-4 semesters.  If the requests can't be met, you will be asked until we find an opportunity that serves your schedule and interests as well as the student's needs. 

What if I have particular fields in which I'm interested in serving as Dean’s Representative, or I enjoy serving as Dean’s Representative and want to do so more often?

Please let our Dean’s Representative specialist know of your preferences, and we will make every attempt to accommodate your interests and your willingness to serve.

Will my chair or dean know that I have served as a Dean’s Representative?

The Graduate School will send you a letter of thanks for your service, which is routinely copied to your chair.  Please be sure to note your service as a Dean’s Representative, however, in your annual report. 

What are my responsibilities as a Dean’s Representative?

  • The Dean’s Representative should assure that all the committee members are present before starting.
  • The composition of the committee must conform to the latest rules about remote participation. Visit our Remote Participation page to view our policy.
  • Assure that there is a completed dissertation that has been circulated to all committee members at least two weeks in advance.
  • Assure that the pass/fail/retest policy is followed.
  • Report if student and/or DR are not treated respectfully.
  • Serve (for purposes of continuity), whenever possible, at both the examination and dissertation meetings.
  • If unable to attend a milestone exam, inform the chair of the committee and the Graduate School as soon as possible so that a replacement can be found in a timely manner.

What should I do as a Dean’s Representative if I find that any of the above conditions haven’t been met?

The Dean’s Representative is authorized to cancel or reschedule the examination. The Dean’s Representative should inform the chair of the committee and the Graduate School immediately in such an event.

How do I get a new Dean’s Representative on my committee if my current one is no longer at the University or unable to participate in my exam?

The Graduate School Academic Services Office will review the circumstances pertaining to the request.  Please send an email to graddeansrep@lsu.edu, and provide a detailed explanation.  Please be sure to send the email from your LSU email address.

Where can I get the forms required for graduation?

Final defense requests (commonly referred to as the dissertation defense) and application for degree forms are available on our Forms page.

How can I confirm that all my paperwork has been received and approved?

Students are able to monitor the process of their degree documents through their Milestones located in MyLSU. Once in MyLSU, the Graduate Milestones section is located under the ‘Student Services’ tab in the left column. By clicking ‘Graduate Milestones’, students will be able to view their degree and program type as well as document status. 

How can I fix my classification on my Milestones if I am a thesis student but classified as a non-thesis student?

All students except those in a thesis-only program are coded as non-thesis. This changes when you file your Application for Degree. This does not change the path of your degree program.

What are the deadlines for graduation this semester?

Important deadlines and dates are listed on the Graduate School calendar.

What happens if I miss the application deadline or unable to finalize my thesis or dissertation writing by the defense deadline?

Students can request Degree-only status for the following semester as long as all coursework is completed and have defended by commencement in the previous term.

Ex: If a student cannot defend by the current semester's approval deadline but will defend by the commencement; they are not meeting the graduation requirements for this semester but may request to be degree-only for the Spring term.

How do I apply to graduate during summer session?

The procedure is the same as for regular semesters. The relevant dates are listed on the Graduate School calendar and the Academic Calendar.

The procedure is the same as for regular semesters. The relevant dates are listed on the Graduate School calendar and the Academic Calendar. All graduation forms can be found on the Forms page.

Do I need to submit a new form to change the date of my exam?

Yes, you need to fill out the Defense Date Change form.

What are the fees for graduation?

Fees will appear on your regular fee bill.

Master’s degree fee—$45; processing fee, $20Doctoral degree fee—$65; processing fee, $45 Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree fee; processing fee $40, Replacement diploma fee—$30. We will no longer provide duplicated diplomas. 

How can I get a letter of completion?

You can request this document via email from the Graduate Student Services Office or by visiting the lobby of W. David Boyd Hall. You must have completed all degree requirements and not be enrolled in any coursework. There is a 7-10 day processing time for these letters. The original can be mailed out directly or picked up in person. You may also request a .PDF copy of this letter sent via email.

How do I become Degree Only?

To be eligible for Degree Only registration, you must have already defended your thesis or dissertation by the commencement date in a previous semester and completed all required course work. Degree Only registration means that you are registering for the Degree Only and are not considered an enrolled student. If you desire to register Degree-Only, you must have completed and submitted your thesis or dissertation by the degree only deadline. The document must be submitted in advance of the deadline to ensure staff has adequate time to review and you have time to make required corrections. Documents must be approved and registration must be completed by 4:30 pm on the deadline date listed on the Graduate School calendar.

Graduate Funding

Find answers to common questions about funding opportunities for graduate students. For additional questions, please contact Finance and Administrative services at 225-578-2311 or email gradawards@lsu.edu.

Where can I get an application for a graduate assistantship?

Departments recruit and hire graduate assistants on an individual basis. You must contact specific departments for availability. Non-discipline specific and administrative assistantships are listed in the Graduate School’s weekly announcements during the academic year when they become available.

I am an LSU Online student. Am I able to apply for a graduate assistantship?

At this time, LSU Online students are not allowed to hold graduate assistantships.

Can I drop below full-time status?

No. There are no exceptions to this rule (including the graduating semester). Audited courses do not count towards this requirement.

Do I have to register for classes during the summer?

If your assistantship is a 9-month academic appointment, registration during summer sessions is not required. If you have a 12-month appointment or a summer assistantship, full-time registration (6 credit hours) during the summer is required.

Do I have to take the English proficiency class if I’m an international student and speak English natively?

All international students who will be teaching are required to meet the English proficiency requirement either through an oral interview or coursework. This includes students from English-speaking countries such as Canada, Great Britain, and Australia. 

I have been placed on academic probation. Will I lose my assistantship? 

Students must be in good standing to be awarded and to hold assistantships. PS-21 details one-time exemption to this requirement under “Qualifications.” This exemption is at the discretion of the student’s home department, college dean, and the Dean of the Graduate School.

I want to work extra hours outside of my assistantship. Is this possible?

Your academic department, regardless of where you hold your assistantship, must petition the Graduate School for you to work extra hours. Check with your department to find out if the petition was approved. You may not exceed a total of 20 hours per week without explicit Graduate School approval. International students are not permitted to work additional hours outside of their assistantship.

Am I allowed to work more than 20 hours a week? 

US citizens are sometimes allowed to work extra hours with Graduate School approval, but federal law prohibits international students from working more than 20 hours/week.

How long do I have to be on an assistantship to get my non-resident and/or tuition waiver?

Graduate assistants must be in appointment status on the following dates to receive the full tuition exemption and/or non-resident fee waiver:

  • Spring Semester: March 2
  • 2nd Summer Session: First day of class
  • Fall Semester: October 2

I am being charged nonresident and/or tuition, but I am a graduate assistant. What do I do?

Make sure that your department has processed the appropriate appointment before the above semester deadlines. It usually takes 4-5 working days to process an appointment. Check your Billing Statement on MyLSU to see if the adjustment has been made.

How much will I get paid? 

Stipends vary widely among departments. The current minimum amount is $10,800 for a 20 hour a week, 9-month academic year appointment. There is no maximum amount. Your department is required to put your stipend amount in your assistantship contract. 

When will I get paid?

All graduate assistants are paid once a month on the last business day of each month.