The College of Graduate Studies

Non-degree Graduate Admission

The University provides an opportunity for individuals who hold a baccalaureate (or higher) degree to enroll in graduate courses without admittance to a graduate degree, certificate, or licensure program. Non-Degree status is designed for those who want to take graduate courses for professional growth and/or personal enrichment, or who wish to take a limited amount of course work to explore the possibility of later entering a graduate degree, certificate, or licensure program.

Admission Requirements for Non-Degree Students

  1. Applicants must hold an earned baccalaureate degree (or higher) from a fully accredited academic college or university. All non-degree applicants are required to provide proof of degree conferral. Proof may take the form of an official transcript or a copy of the official transcript from the institution where the highest posted degree was earned. Proof of degree conferral for applicants who graduated from Cleveland State University will be retrieved internally. Licensed teachers may submit a copy of the teaching license or certificate.
  2. Baccalaureate degrees earned outside of the United States must be equivalent to baccalaureate degrees earned in the United States. Permanent Residents of the United States who received their undergraduate (and graduate) degrees outside of the United States must submit official transcripts and diplomas for evaluation to be considered for Non-Degree graduate admission.
  3. The University requires all nonnative English speakers to demonstrate proof of English-language proficiency. Any individual who has earned a  bachelor's (or higher) degree from a U.S. institution, in which the primary language of instruction is English, is not required to take an English-language proficiency examination. English-language proficiency test options and score requirements appear in the International Students section of this Catalog.
  4. Submit a completed application form and proof of baccalaureate (or higher) degree to the Graduate Admissions Processing Office. Applicants are strongly advised to submit an online application to facilitate processing their requests for Non-Degree admission. Applicants submitting paper application forms must allow additional processing time for their requests.
  5. Non-Degree applicants are not required to pay an application fee. However, if the Non-Degree student later requests admission to a graduate degree, certificate, or licensure program, a $40 application fee is required. The student must submit an updated application for the degree, certificate, or licensure program and all required admission materials to the Graduate Admissions Processing Office before an admission decision will be rendered.

Application Deadline

For Non-Degree graduate admission, the application deadline is ten business days prior to the start of the term. However, Non-Degree applicants are encouraged to apply well in advance of the deadline to avoid possible delays.

Submitting Non-Degree Application Materials

Graduate Admissions Processing
Cleveland State University
2121 Euclid Avenue, UN 443
Cleveland, Ohio 44115-2214 USA
Phone: 216-687-5411

Financial Aid for Non-Degree Students

Non-degree graduate students may qualify for the Federal Stafford Loan Program if their course work is required as a prerequisite to qualify for admission to a graduate degree program. Eligibility for these loans continues for one consecutive twelve-month period. Students are required to register for at least six credit hours in order to be eligible for the loan. The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) must be on file with the Financial Aid Office in order to be considered for the Federal Stafford Loan programs. A student who has not been admitted as a Regular Graduate Student before the conclusion of the twelve-month period will not be eligible for additional Stafford Loan assistance.

University Regulations

Cross registration is not permitted for certificate, licensure, or non-degree Cleveland State University graduate students.

An academically dismissed non-degree student must petition the College of Graduate Studies Petitions Committee for readmission consideration. Petition forms may be downloaded from the College of Graduate Studies Web site at

  • A recommendation from the Director of the Graduate Program in which the student wishes to take classes is required before action will be taken by the Graduate College Petitions Committee. Re-admission petitions must provide an explanation of the factors responsible for the student's poor academic performance and present a convincing case for why the person is now prepared to succeed in his/her studies.

    Academic reassessment is not available to students who are currently enrolled on a graduate certificate, licensure, or non-degree basis.

Enrollment Conditions for Non-Degree Students

The following conditions must be met by non-degree graduate students:

  1. Students must meet course prerequisites unless waived by the instructor. In some cases, program authorization is also required.
  2. Students are permitted to enroll in classes on a space-available basis. Priority is given to graduate degree, certificate, and licensure students when enrollment is limited. A list of restricted course can be found at: A copy of the Non-Degree Course Permission slip can be found at:
  3. Non-degree students are graded on a letter-grade basis. Exceptions are made only if the student requests Audit (N/C) or Satisfactory/Fail (S/F) status at the time of registration or within the first week of classes. Students must perform at the B or better level to receive a Satisfactory grade.
  4. Non-degree students may NOT earn a graduate degree, certificate, or license awarded by the University. Students with non-degree status who wish to earn a graduate degree, certificate or license must apply and meet that program's admission standards. A student who changes from non-degree to degree status may be permitted, with program approval, to apply a maximum of twelve graduate credits of non-degree course work toward fulfillment of master's degree requirements. A student may petition for an extension of the twelve credit limit. If approved by the graduate committee, such requests do not require the review and approval of the College of Graduate Studies Petitions Committee. However, if denied at the departmental level, requests for an extension of the twelve-credit limit may be submitted to the College of Graduate Studies Petitions Committee for review and disposition.
  5. Non-degree graduate students are not eligible for Graduate Assistantship or Graduate Tuition Grant awards.