Frequently Asked Questions – Prospective Students

How do I apply to your Graduate School?

Students can apply in the graduate office or at http://www.jsums.edu/gadmappl/prospective/index.html.

What is non-degree seeking status?

Students may be granted special admission to earn certification, update professional skills, earn transfer credit, or to attend a workshop. Only selected graduate courses are available. Applicants for non-degree status file only:

1.     Application for Admission and Non-degree Enrollment Forms.
2.    Transcript(s) direct from college(s) to the Graduate Admission Office with a cumulative GPA of at least 2.50 at the undergraduate level (on 4.0 scale).

Non-degree students who may wish to earn a degree at a later date must meet all admissions (regular or conditional) criteria as listed above and have a 3.00 average for any graduate courses completed as a non-degree seeking student.

Students previously registered as non-degree students in the Division of Graduate Studies should note that work taken in this category is treated as transfer credit if the student is later admitted to a degree program.  A maximum of twelve (12) semester hours may be transferred to a graduate degree program from non-degree status subject to approval by the department chairperson and the Dean of the Graduate School.

What is your application fee and how do I pay?

The application fee is $25.00 for out-of-state resident. It should be mailed P O Box 17095, Jackson MS 39207.   It should be in the form of a money order or check. The application fee cannot be waived or postponed.

Am I an international applicant?

You are an international applicant if you are NOT U.S. citizen, immigrant or green card holder. International students should contact the Office of Global Academic Diversity at 601-979-1611.

What are your application deadlines?

Please visit our website at http://www.jsums.edu/gadmappl/prospective/index.html. Student should also read departmental instructions carefully to determine department application deadlines. If you are an applicant living outside the U.S., you should complete application requirements before the deadline specified by the graduate program to ensure sufficient time for graduate admission review.

General Application Deadlines
       Fall  =  March 1
    Summer  =  March 15
    Spring  =  October 15

Applications received after the enrollment deadline for the desired enrollment period will be processed for the next enrollment period. Selected academic programs only admit 

What if I want to apply to more than one degree program?

Students are allowed to apply to more than one degree program.

What application materials are required by the Graduate School?

It is the applicant's responsibility to ensure that all admission documents are received in the Division of Graduate Studies on or before the application deadline.  All credentials submitted on behalf of an applicant become the property of the University and may be maintained for up to one year.  Materials from applicants who do not submit all requested material may be shredded and discarded after one year.

All required information MUST be received by the following deadlines.   Required information includes:

1.     Application    
2.     Official Transcripts from all accredited colleges and    universities attended.
3.    Proof of immunization for measles, mumps and rubella 
4.    Application Fee, if applicable.
5.    Departmental/program documentations and test scores.
6.    Official TOEFL or IELTS score and financial support documentation for international applicants.

What are the department requirements?

All students should contact the department for departmental requirements or visit:  http://www.jsums.edu/graduateschool/prospective-students-home/

How long will the Graduate School keep my admission file?

The Graduate School will keep your file for one academic year only. If you would like your admission file retained for another year, please email graduate@jsums.edu immediately.

What should I do if I need to defer my application for one year?

An admission decision is  valid for 12 months. Thereafter, the applicant should contact Graduate Admissions for readmission.

What is required when sending my international transcripts?

Send international transcripts with degree statement, including date of graduation and title of academic degree awarded. All coursework with grades issued for each year completed must be submitted for proper evaluation. All international records are considered official if they have been certified or attested and must be submitted in the original language accompanied by an official English translation. Translations must be literal, complete versions of original records, and the documents must be translated by a university, a government official, or an official translation service. You cannot do your own translation. 

The Graduate School accepts the following documentation of international credentials and degree certificates:

  • Original academic credentials issued by the registrar of the institution attended, bearing the original raised or colored seal of the institution and the signature of your institution's registrar or academic official.
  • Photocopies of academic credentials that have been certified by a recognized international education organization—such as the U.S. Educational Foundation, AMIDEAST, LASPAU, the Institute for International Education-(IIE), Education USA, U.S. Educational Foundation in India (USEFI), Fulbright agency or American Translators Association located in the U.S. (Note: Faxed or photocopies certified by a U.S. notary public are not official.)

In some circumstances, we will accept exact copies duly certified as such by the Registrar of a regionally accredited institution in the United States previously attended by the applicant. Such copies must be sent directly from the U.S. institution in a sealed envelope.

What if I attended a school in the U.S. or Canada?

Ask the registrar to mail official transcripts in a sealed envelope to the Graduate School.

Do you require TOEFL or any other English examination?

All applicants to Jackson State University must show proof of English Language proficiency.  For international students, this is most commonly demonstrated through the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or the IELTS.  However, JSU accepts additional methods of determining English Proficiency.

Conditional admission to Jackson State University may be granted to international students with a stipulation of successfully completing all levels of English study at the English as a Second Language Institute (ESLI) of the Division of International Studies

Do you require GRE test?

Please check departmental requirements carefully to determine what, if any, test scores are required.

How am I notified of a decision on my application?

Once the Division of Graduate Studies receives a recommendation from the department and the College Dean or designee, applicants are notified by the Graduate Dean of the decision to admit, conditionally admit, or deny. An admission decision is  valid for 12 months. Thereafter, the applicant should contact Graduate Admissions for readmission. 

What happens after I’ve received the formal letter of admission?

Once a letter of admission has been received, student should contact the department  for the initial advising session and to complete registration.

What are the requirements for my degree?

Requirements for the degree are in the Graduate Catalog.  If you do not hava a copy, please stop by our office for see the online verion- Click here.

How do I transfer credit to my degree?

Graduate credit may be transferred from graduate schools of regionally accredited institutions.  Transfer credit is not automatic and is made upon the recommendation of the chairperson of the major department, the academic college dean or designee and approval of the Dean of the Division of Graduate Studies.  Credits are usually transferred during or at the end of the student's first semester of enrollment.  Students should not assume that all graduate credits earned at other institutions will be transferred.  
    
Only those hours in which the student has achieved a grade of "B"  will be considered for transfer..  These credits must be in an area that is the same as, or closely related to, the major field of concentration.   Students should consult with the specific degree program for regulations pertaining to the program.  Time limits apply to transfer credit.  All master's and specialist students must complete their programs within eight years of starting coursework at Jackson State or elsewhere. 

A maximum of 15 semester hours of  transfer may be applied toward the doctoral degree.  Students should consult with the specific degree program for regulations pertaining to the program. Time limits apply to transfer credit.

When should I see my faculty advisor?

Each graduate student pursuing a degree is assigned an advisor or mentor within the area in which the student is concentrating. This adviser will be appointed by the department chair in consultation with the student.  If the student in a degree program chooses to write a thesis or a project, a committee of at least three graduate faculty members will be appointed to help direct the thesis. Students writing a dissertation will be guided by a committee, chaired by the major advisor.

What is the GECE (Graduate English Competency Examination)?

This test is taken prior to registration or during the first term when the student begins work beyond the undergraduate level at Jackson State University. It is designed to show the strengths and weaknesses of each student in the areas of grammar and usage, logic, organization and content. Students unsuccessful on the English Examination must pass English 500-Advanced Laboratory Writing. The examination can be taken only once. It is expected that students who must take English 500 will do so no later than their second semester of enrollment.  A final grade of "B" or higher is considered passing in English 500.  ENG 500 does not earn credit in graduate degree programs. Information on specific dates can be obtained from the Division of Graduate Studies, the Graduate website and academic departments.

Exemptions
1.    Students in selected degree programs may meet this requirement by obtaining appropriate scores on the following examinations: GRE, GMAT and PRAXIS.
2.    JSU undergraduate students may meet this requirement by entering the Division Graduate Studies immediately after graduation.

Please contact your department chair or graduate program advisor for eligibility.  The Division of Graduate Studies must receive notification of students meeting the requirement via exemptions.

What is degree candidacy?

While there is a variation among graduate programs in the specific graduate degree requirements, all programs have in common:
A period of pre-candidacy studies, typically intensive coursework and training in the basic skills of research, scholarship and  professional practice appropriate to the discipline
A period of post-candidacy studies in which work is applied toward the completion of final degree requirement.

Admission To Candidacy at the Masters' Level - When approximately 12-15 semester hours have been completed the student should submit an application for advancement to candidacy.  Please note that student cannot be advanced to candidacy until:

  • All admission requirements have been met.
  • All incompletes ("I" grades) have been removed.
  • Application for Candidacy approved by your departmental committee.
  • The Graduate English Competency Examination has been passed, or ENG 500 completed with a grade of "B" or higher (Click here for an application) *(pdf file)
  • Overall GPA is 3.00 or higher.

Admission To Candidacy at the Doctoral Level  When approximately 80% of degree requirements have been completed the student should make application for advancement to candidacy.  Please note that student cannot be advanced to candidacy until:

  • All admission requirements have been met.
  • All incompletes ("I" grades) have been removed.
  • Application for Candidacy approved by your departmental committee.
  • Overall GPA is 3.00 or higher.
Is a thesis or project required for every master-level program?

Degree programs vary in requiring a thesis, project, or additional coursework. It is the responsibility of the student to be knowledgeable of all departmental requirements.  Students are strongly encouraged to  consult with their departmental graduate adviser. (see the appropriate section of the Graduate Catalog)

  • Thesis —  (6 hours)      The candidate electing to write  a thesis will select a problem area of interest   within his major field.   The thesis will be directed by the student's  major  adviser  with  the approval of the student's thesis committee.  There is a two (2) year limit on completing the thesis, calculated from the date the student passed the Graduate Comprehensive Examination.      From  the time the Graduate Comprehensive     Examination is taken  a  student is required  to be  in continuous enrollment until the degree is earned within the two year limitation.
  • Project— (3 hours) The term "Project" is broadly conceived: it may be an experiment, a review of research, an analysis and evaluation of some psychological, educational or vocational problem related to the student's work or some other type of  independent study.  The specific nature, procedure and requirements of  the project are to be arranged by the candidate and his adviser with the approval of  appropriate departmental faculty members or chairs. A minimum of 33 semester hours is required for this option. The results of the Project are to be reported in written form according to an acceptable stylistic form.
  • Additional Coursework—The student, in consultation with his/her adviser will select at least two additional courses to extend, expand or supplement his area of specialization.
What is the GACE (Graduate Area Comprehensive Examination)?

Few words strike fear and panic into graduate students as readily as the words “area comps”.  Comprehensive examinations are a challenge, they test intellectual capacity, nerve, endurance, and fortitude. Comprehensive examinations are a time-honored tradition for testing a graduate student’s mastery of disciplinary knowledge.You should view your comprehensive examination as a challenge worthy of your hard work.  As you prepare, you will not only become aware of how much you have learned, but you will also reach a better understanding of all that you have learned.  Education and what may seem to be difficult experiences change people.  Changes allow for personal growth and broadened horizons.  Comps should be an important and welcomed part of that growth!

Graduate student who intends to become a candidate for the degree at Jackson State University should take a written comprehensive examination in the student area of specialization after completing the requirements the graduate program with a cumulative average of "B" or better in courses completed.    

No student may appear for the comprehensive examination until after he/she has been declared eligible for the examination by the Dean of the Division of Graduate Studies.  The student must be registered for at least one credit hour in the semester in which the examination will be taken.  An audited course will not meet this requirement.

The Graduate Comprehensive Examination may be given three times a year, once in each semester. The date will be set by the Dean of the Division of Graduate Studies. A student may be permitted to take the Comprehensive Examination twice: if the student fails the second time, the student must petition the Academic College Dean or designee for permission to take the examination the third time. The student should register with the assigned adviser or department chair to take this examination.

What is satisfactory academic progress?

Each student should thoroughly study the Graduate Catalog and become completely familiar with the organization, policies, and regulations of the university.  Failure to do this may result in serious mistakes for which the student shall be held fully responsible.   Only the general academic regulations and requirements governing graduate programs are presented in CyberOrientation.  Specific requirements pertaining to individual programs are outlined within the departmental section of the catalog. It is the graduate student's responsibility to keep current on information which may affect their  matriculation in graduate school.  Whenever a problem occurs, the student should contact their major advisor and/or the Graduate Dean's office. Advisors endeavor to provide such assistance in a timely and accurate manner, but meeting requirements for graduation is the responsibility of the student.

A graduate student may be classified as:

  • In Good Standing,
  • On Probation, or
  • Subject to Dismissal.
  1. Good Standing.  A graduate student is judged to be in good standing when making adequate progress toward completion of degree requirements, has a cumulative GPA of 3.00 and is not on probation or subject to dismissal.
  2. Probation.  Failure to complete the required hours and maintain the above grade point average will result in a one semester probationary period.  Probation is intended to provide a student whose performance is less than fully satisfactory a period of time to bring his/her performance up to a level consistent with the minimum standards enforced by the Graduate School and/or the program in which enrolled.

A student may not remain in probationary status for longer than two semesters.  When a student is placed on probation, he/she will be notified of the fact in writing and will have one semester to correct the deficiencies that led to this action.  If, at the end of this period, all deficiencies have been removed, and no other circumstances warranting probation have developed in the interim, the student will be returned to good standing.  If the deficiencies have not been corrected by the end of this period, the student may become subject to dismissal.
    
Probation may be initiated by the Graduate Dean or by the recommendation of the Graduate Advisor in the student's major department, school, college or graduate group.

What is graduate support?

Students who wish to apply  for graduate student support must be admitted to the Division of Graduate Studies as a degree seeking student and must complete the required application form. Address requests for applications to Graduate Coordinator of Student Services, Jackson State University, Jackson, Mississippi 39217. 

Certain departments and academic schools have departmental support for graduate students; interested students should contact the  department chair or the dean of the college for further information. 

  • Graduate Assistantships
  • Graduate Tuition-waivers
  • Diversity Scholarships.
What services are available for students with disabilities?

The Office of Support Services for Students and Employees with Disabilities is committed to coordinating reasonable services and accommodations to JSU students and staff as well as other external constituents with disabilities. Special emphasis is given to accessibility and inclusion when meeting the needs of all of our students, employees and visitors. Any student, employee, or campus visitor who has been diagnosed with a disability is eligible for accommodations at JSU. The student, employee, or visitor must make the University aware of his/her disability by presenting documentation applicably showing the disability and need for academic adjustment, auxiliary aids, accommodations, and services.

For additional information, please contact the Office of Support Services for Students and Employees with Disabilities at (601) 979-3704. The Office is located on the first floor of Jacob L. Reddix Hall.

What services are available for veterans?

The Veteran Affairs Office (VA) assists students who are veterans and dependents of veterans who are eligible for benefits through the Veterans Administration. The office is located on the second level of B. F. Roberts Hall and was established to act as a liaison between the eligible students and the various Jackson State University offices to help resolve entitlement problems. It can be reached at (601) 979-1755. The office hours are: 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m……….Monday – Friday.

How do I take a leave of absence from the University?

Under special circumstances such as illness, family hardship or military service a student who is a degree candidate may be given a leave of absence. In order to be considered for a leave of absence the student must NOT:

  • Have registered for any course.
  • Have  been previously  registered  for thesis or  dissertation credits.
  • Have an "I" on his/her record.
  • Be  scheduled to take any examination (such as language, comprehensive, etc.)

 Leaves of absence will be granted for one semester, or longer, as circumstances warrant.  No leave is granted for more than one calendar year.  To obtain a leave of absence:

  1. The student writes a letter outlining in detail the reasons for requesting a leave.  This letter should be  addressed to the Chairperson of the student’s major department.
  2. The Chairperson will determine the appropriateness of giving the leave, adding  his/her recommendation to the letter   and forward it to the Graduate Dean.
  3. After action by the Dean, the Division of Graduate Studies will notify the student, the department, and the Registrar (the latter only if the leave is granted) of the decision.
How do I withdraw from the University?

Formal withdrawal from the University is processed through the Office of the Vice President for Student Life. No withdrawal from the University is official until the student has processed the appropriate forms. The effective date of withdrawal is the date the formal application is filed in the Office of the Vice President for Student Life. A student who leaves the University without filing a statement of formal withdrawal is given the grade which the record warrants in all courses in which he/she is enrolled. A student may withdraw from a course within the first 25 days following registration. Grades will be recorded in accordance with the schedule listed in this section. Registration dates are printed in the Official Course Schedule Booklet, also available
online.

Neglecting attendance in classes or merely giving notice to instructors will not be considered as official notice of withdrawal. An unofficial withdrawal may result in failure in the course. Class changes which place a student below full-time status will unfavorably affect veteran subsistence, financial aid, and eligibility for other academic recognition.

Must I maintain continuous enrollment in graduate school?

Minimum registration for a graduate student to meet the continuous enrollment requirement is one (1) graduate credit a term.  It is the student’s responsibility to register for the appropriate number of credits each semester to meet departmental requirements.

What is the policy on incomplete grades, I and IP?

When circumstances beyond a student's control prevent the completion of a course satisfactorily, the student has two options.  One is to withdraw, if the 'drop' deadline has passed.  The other is to request a grade of incomplete, "I", which allows a time extension.  Such a request must be made before the semester ends and before the final exam, and the granting of this privilege is entirely at the professor's discretion.

If the student is in residence, the deficiency must be made up and the grade changed by the instructor within the first six weeks of the following semester.  If the student is not in residence, the deficiency must be made up within one calendar year for the date the "I" was given.

Note: The "IP" grade is to be assigned for Project, Thesis, Dissertation courses or independent study.  The grade(s) for these courses should be assigned upon the successful defense of the Project, Thesis or Dissertation or completion of the independent study.

How long do I have to complete my degree?

All master's and specialist students must complete their programs within eight years of starting coursework at Jackson State or elsewhere. Doctoral students must complete all degree requirements within ten years from the time of admission into a program.  Specific programs may have different time limits.

How do I change graduate programs?

To transfer from one major department to another during a term in which a student is registered, the student is required to submit a new application. 

To transfer from one program to another program located in the same department, the student is required to submit a "Program Transfer form” and submit it to the current major department, requesting transfer.  If the department approves, the approval is noted, a current degree evaluation is attached to the form, and forwarded to the Graduate Dean for final action.

If I am a senior at JSU, can I take graduate classes?

A graduating senior who has an overall 3.00 or better grade point average and who lacks no more than nine semester credit hours for the completion of the baccalaureate degree may, with the approval of the Dean of the Graduate School, register for a maximum of six (6) semester credit hours on the graduate level during the final undergraduate semester. No student may receive graduate credit for any course taken when he has not formally applied for, and received, admission to the Division of Graduate Studies.

What paperwork is required for graduation?

Please see the appropriate web page on graduation clearance in CyberOrientation:  doctoral, specialist and master.

International Academic Credentials (Transcripts)

What is required when sending my international transcripts?

Send international transcripts with degree statement, including date of graduation and title of academic degree awarded. All coursework with grades issued for each year completed must be submitted for proper evaluation. All international records are considered official if they have been certified or attested and must be submitted in the original language accompanied by an official English translation. Translations must be literal, complete versions of original records, and the documents must be translated by a university, a government official, or an official translation service. You cannot do your own translation. 

The Graduate School accepts the following documentation of international credentials and degree certificates:

  • Original academic credentials issued by the registrar of the institution attended, bearing the original raised or colored seal of the institution and the signature of your institution's registrar or academic official.
  • Photocopies of academic credentials that have been certified by a recognized international education organization—such as the U.S. Educational Foundation, AMIDEAST, LASPAU, the Institute for International Education-(IIE), Education USA, U.S. Educational Foundation in India (USEFI), Fulbright agency or American Translators Association located in the U.S. (Note: Faxed or photocopies certified by a U.S. notary public are not official.)

In some circumstances, we will accept exact copies duly certified as such by the Registrar of a regionally accredited institution in the United States previously attended by the applicant. Such copies must be sent directly from the U.S. institution in a sealed envelope.

What if I attended a school in the U.S. or Canada?

Ask the registrar to mail official transcripts in a sealed envelope to the Graduate School.

Required Tests

Do you require TOEFL or any other English examination?

All applicants to Jackson State University must show proof of English Language proficiency.  For international students, this is most commonly demonstrated through the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or the IELTS.  However, JSU accepts additional methods of determining English Proficiency.

Conditional admission to Jackson State University may be granted to international students with a stipulation of successfully completing all levels of English study at the English as a Second Language Institute (ESLI) of the Division of International Studies

Do you require GRE test?

Please check departmental requirements carefully to determine what, if any, test scores are required.

Admission

How am I notified of a decision on my application?

Once the Division of Graduate Studies receives a recommendation from the department and the College Dean or designee, applicants are notified by the Graduate Dean of the decision to admit, conditionally admit, or deny. An admission decision is  valid for 12 months. Thereafter, the applicant should contact Graduate Admissions for readmission. 

What happens after I’ve received the formal letter of admission?

Once a letter of admission has been received, student should contact the department  for the initial advising session and to complete registration.