College of

Student Status

Graduate Student Handbook

Only students who have been admitted officially by the university may register for graduate courses (400-level courses) in the college.  In addition, only students admitted into one of the academic programs in the College of Education may pursue one of the degrees offered by the college.

There are three types of admitted students at Lehigh: regular graduate students, associate graduate students and non-degree graduate students.  Students should check their letter of admission to determine which status they hold.  If you have any questions concerning your letter, please call the College of Education Admissions Office at 610-758-3231 or email  

Each type of student is described here:

Regular Graduate Students

Regular graduate students are fully admitted to a degree program in the college and are assigned an academic adviser.  Only regular graduate students are candidates for graduate degrees.

Associate Graduate Students

Students admitted under associate status are conditionally accepted into a degree program in the college.  They are assigned an academic adviser and must demonstrate within 12 credits that they qualify for reassignment as regular graduate students.  The criterion for qualification is completion at least 9 credits and no more than 12 credits with a GPA of 3.00 or better and no final course marks lower than B-.  Students must petition for this change in status before being allowed to register for coursework beyond 12 credits.

Non-degree Graduate Students

In addition to degree programs, there are two non-degree options as well: (1) regular non-degree and (2) non-degree for external certification.

Regular Non-degree Admission

Regular non-admission is for students who wish to take up to 12 credits of graduate coursework at Lehigh without seeking a degree. Any transcript or other record from the university will clearly indicate the student status as non-degree. Non-degree students are not permitted to audit courses. University admissions criteria for non-degree graduate students are: 1) a bachelor’s degree from an approved institution with an overall grade point average of at least 3.0; (applicants with undergraduate GPAs below 3.0 may be admitted with the approval of the department in which they wish to take courses;) or 2) evidence that the applicant is presently a student in good standing in an appropriate graduate program at an approved institution; or 3) evidence that the applicant has received an appropriate graduate or other advanced degree from an approved institution. In addition, non-native English speakers are required to demonstrate English language skills equal to those required of degree-seeking students and are held to the same English proficiency standards. 

Non-degree for External Certification

Non-degree for external certification students are admitted to pursue coursework for the purpose of obtaining certification through an external accrediting agency. Applicants are expected to have an undergraduate GPA of 3.0 or higher on a four-point scale or to have achieved a GPA of 3.0 or higher on a four-point scale for a minimum of 12 graduate credits at another accredited institution. Applicants are assigned certification advisers on admissions and must work with the adviser to assure that they complete all requirements for certification satisfactorily. Non-degree for external certification students complete the coursework and any other required field experiences for the appropriate certification, with the number of credits and field experiences being dictated by the external accrediting agency. Given this external control of credit requirements, the number of credits will vary and will typically exceed the 12-credit limit for regular non-degree students. Certification involves qualitative components as well as credits; a non-degree student seeking such certification must meet the quality standards of the certification program, as well as completing the necessary coursework and field experiences.

Changing from Non-Degree to Degree Status

Non-degree students of either type may seek admission to a degree program. Non-degree students who seek admission to a degree program must meet all regular admissions criteria, complete all regular procedures, and present all documents normally required of degree-seeking applicants to that program. Courses taken by a non-degree student who later enters a degree program will count towards the completion of the program to the extent that those courses fall within the normal requirements of the program and to the extent that the student's performance in the course(s) is acceptable for degree program purposes. Any course that is counted towards the completion of a degree must be completed within the established time limits for that degree, whether taken initially as a degree or non-degree course.

International Students

The Office of International Students and Scholars (OISS), located at Coxe Hall, 32 Sayre Drive, is a university-wide resource for students and scholars from abroad, for U.S. students studying overseas, and for the Lehigh faculty and administration.  The OISS staff assists international students and scholars by providing a comprehensive orientation program, information and advice on immigration regulations and visa requirements.  In addition, the OISS sponsors internationally focused educational, cultural and social programming, including the Bazaar and International Week.  The office also acts as a liaison between international students and scholars and other offices and departments on campus, as well as national and international agencies.  For more information, contact the OISS at 610-758-4859.