The minimum academic regulations and degree requirements for graduate study at UMKC, as outlined in the subsections that follow, have been determined by the UMKC graduate faculty through representation on the Graduate Council and the Committee of Graduate Officers, and apply to all graduate programs. Individual schools and departments may adopt additional and more stringent requirements for admission, retention and degrees that take priority over these minimum regulations. These additional requirements are detailed under the various fields of study in this catalog.

Academic Loads

Full-Time Academic Load Definition for Graduate Students 

Graduate students enrolled in nine or more credits during a regular semester or five credits during a summer session are considered full-time students. All students registered for fewer than those specified totals are classified as part-time students, unless they hold a teaching or research appointment at UMKC. 

Full-time enrollment for students holding graduate teaching assistant or graduate research assistant appointments (GTA/GRAs)  is six hours in a regular semester or three hours in a summer session. GTAs/GRAs are expected to make normal progress toward their degrees and should enroll in a minimum of six hours per semester (three credits in the summer session). However, GTA/GRA appointees who have completed all required coursework for the degree and who are working full time on research need only enroll for the minimum of three credits.

These designations of full time are for academic purposes only and do not apply to assessment of fees or degree program residency requirements. Note that this policy in no way alters the residency requirements and criteria for doctoral degrees. Further, international students holding GTA/GRA appointments also must abide by requirements of the U.S. Immigration Service and should consult the international student advisor before reducing their course loads.

Special Cases: Requests for GTA/GRA Appointments Greater than Half Time and Requests for Exemption from Social Security Withholding for GTAs/GRAs

GTA/GRA appointments are normally restricted to no more than 20 hours per week (.5 full-time employee). Requests for GTA/GRA appointments greater than .5 FTE must be submitted to the School of Graduate Studies prior to the beginning of the appointment and must be accompanied by a statement from the student's major advisor that the additional work load will neither place the student at risk academically nor impede the student's academic progress.

Graduate students holding GTA/GRA appointments are automatically exempt from Social Security withholding tax as long as they are enrolled in at least six credit hours. If the student's enrollment falls below six credit hours, the student's academic unit may certify his or her eligibility for continued exemption for one of the following two reasons:

  • The GRA is a doctoral student working in a research laboratory as a component of the educational requirement and is enrolled in the minimum number of research hours required for doctoral students who have passed comprehensive examinations.
  • The GTA or GRA is a graduate student enrolled in fewer than six credit hours because it is the student's exit semester.

Certification forms are available in the School of Graduate Studies office. The form requires signatures from the student's major advisor and the principal graduate advisor of the student's academic unit. After these individuals have signed the form, it must be sent to the School of Graduate Studies for recommendation. The School of Graduate Studies forwards the completed request to the Payroll Office for final action on the request.

Restricted Academic Loads

Limitation on the size of the academic load for which graduate students can register might be imposed by the dean or faculty advisor. Generally, students on probation are required to restrict the academic program to a minimum full-time load until they have returned to good standing.

Interpretation of Full-Time and Half-Time Status of Graduate Students for Purposes of Certification to Lending/Funding Agencies

To be eligible for certification of full-time status as a graduate student, a student must meet at least one of the following conditions:

  • Enrollment in nine credit hours.
  • Ph.D., D.M.A., D.N.P. and Ed.D. candidates who have passed their doctoral comprehensive examinations and are enrolled in at least one credit hour (not to exceed 10 semesters of certification under this category).

To be eligible for certification of half-time status as a graduate student, a student must be enrolled in at least five credit hours.

Special Cases and Limitations on Registrar's Certification to Lending/Funding Agencies:

  • Ph.D. D.M.A., D.N.P or Ed.D. students who have not taken and passed their doctoral comprehensive examinations and who do not meet one of the other enrollment qualifications for certification and Master's/Educational-Specialist, and Graduate Certificate students not qualifying for certification under one of the categories listed above may petition the principal graduate advisor in their academic unit for special consideration. If, based on a review of the student's petition, the principal graduate advisor believes the student for full-time or half-time status, the principal graduate advisor may submit a request to the Registrar's Office.
  • Work to satisfy an incomplete grade or grades from a previous term or terms does not count toward certification. Therefore, a class may be used only in status calculation for one term. Since the hours are used in status calculation during the original term of enrollment, that is the only term that the hours may be counted.
  • Status may not be calculated nor certified for future terms.


Information given in this section reflects minimum campus standards for graduate students' changes of enrollment. Because each academic unit has the prerogative to set more stringent rules, students should consult the principal graduate advisor or graduate officer in their major area of study for unit or discipline-specific rules. All changes in enrollment by graduate students must be initiated in the office of the principal graduate advisor (Arts and Sciences) or graduate officer of the respective unit and completed in the Registration Office.


Students who want to enroll in an additional course may do so during the first week of the term provided they have the approval of the faculty advisor. Course additions or late enrollments after the first week of the term generally are not allowed.


Graduate students may withdraw from a course at any time prior to the first day of the final examination period, provided the permission of the faculty advisor has been obtained and notification to the instructor has been made. However, after the mid-term, students will be academically assessed. If failing at the time of withdrawal, students will be graded "WF" (withdrawn failing). [Note: Individual academic units may have earlier deadlines for withdrawal.]

Audit Policy for Graduate Courses

A student must be admitted to the university and obtain the consent of the instructor in order to audit a graduate course. Courses that ordinarily may not be audited are studio courses, performance courses, continuing education courses, laboratory courses in the sciences, internships, and practicums. Students do not receive credit when auditing a course, and audited courses do not count toward enrollment status requirements (full-time, half-time).

A student registered in a course for audit is expected to attend class and to pay full tuition and fees. Providing feedback to the auditor is at the discretion of the instructor. An auditor may be administratively withdrawn from a course at any time during the semester when, in the judgement of the instructor and upon approval by the dean, the attendance or participation record justifies such action.

Change from Audit to Credit

Graduate students may change status in a course from audit to credit during the first week of the term, provided they have the approval of the faculty advisor and have notified the course instructor.

Change from Credit to Audit

Graduate students may change status in a course from credit to audit any time prior to the final examination period, provided they have the consent of the course instructor and the approval of the faculty advisor. [Note: Individual academic units may have earlier deadlines and may have program-specific restrictions on retaking audited courses for credit.]

Withdrawal for Financial Delinquency

If students fail to fulfill financial obligations with the University after adequate notice, withdrawal from all courses during that term will result.

Continuous Graduate Enrollment Requirement

After completing all courses included in the planned programs or plans of study for degrees, all degree-seeking graduate students must remain continuously enrolled in each regular semester up to and including the semester in which their degrees are awarded. This requirement applies also to the summer term for students whose degrees are being awarded at the end of a summer term. This continuous enrollment must be for a minimum of one-hour credit in research and thesis, research and dissertation, or other work designated by the department or school. When no suitable credit registration is available, or when students have previously enrolled in at least the minimum number of 5599 (thesis) or 5699 (dissertation) or equivalent credits required on their programs or plans of study, students may fulfill the continuous enrollment requirement by registration in continuous graduate enrollment (5899) for no academic credit. Interruption of continuous registration due to failure to comply with this requirement will result in the need for readmission under requirements then in effect. Academic units may require retroactive enrollment as a condition of readmission.

Continuous Graduate Enrollment (5899)

Courses designated as 5899, Continuous Graduate Enrollment, are charged at the rate established for one credit hour. Registration, by mail or in person, must be completed by the end of the first week of a regular semester or of a summer session. Students may obtain a reference number for 5899 from the Registration and Records office.

Graduate students in good standing who have not enrolled for only one semester may re-enroll without applying for readmission. Students who attend other schools in the interim must submit transcripts of such work from each institution attended. Graduate students are considered inactive after a lapse of two or more regular semesters of enrollment. Subsequently, inactive graduate students who want to continue must follow the same admission procedures as those required for new applicants. After a lapse of three or more terms, graduate students will re-enter under requirements in effect at the time of readmission.

Post-Baccalaureate, Non-Graduate Student Classification

Students who have earned a baccalaureate degree and who are seeking only additional undergraduate courses may be admitted under a post-baccalaureate (code 4-E) classification. Students in this classification are restricted to enrollment in courses numbered 499 and below and may not take any courses for graduate credit. Courses taken while classified as a code 4-E student may not be included for credit on a graduate degree program at a later date. Code 4-E students wanting to reclassify as graduate students for a future term must reapply and be regularly admitted to the graduate programs in which they want to seek advanced degrees.

Degree-Seeking and Non-Degree-Seeking Graduate Student Classifications

Students admitted to any of the graduate classifications (whether degree seeking or non-degree seeking) will be enrolled automatically for graduate credit in courses numbered 300 to 499 unless they indicate on their enrollment forms that they do not want graduate credit for the course or the instructor specifies the course may only be taken for undergraduate credit. Courses numbered 299 and below may not be taken for graduate credit, are not calculated in a student's graduate grade-point average and cannot be included as credit courses on a graduate student's program of study.

The following six admissions categories are used for degree-seeking graduate students at UMKC:

  1. Regular Master's Degree Seeking - (Full Admit) Degree-seeking graduate students admitted to a master's degree program without reservation.
  2. Conditional Master's Degree Seeking - (Provisional Graduate). Degree-seeking graduate students admitted to a master's-level degree program who have not yet fulfilled all admissions requirements specified by the academic unit responsible for the degree program.
  3. Regular Educational-Specialist Degree Seeking - (Full Admit). Degree-seeking graduate students admitted to an Educational-Specialist degree program in the School of Education without reservation.
  4. Conditional Educational-Specialist Degree Seeking - (Provisional Graduate). Degree-seeking graduate students admitted to an Educational-Specialist degree program who have not yet fulfilled all admissions requirements specified by the School of Education.
  5. Regular Doctoral Degree Seeking - (Full Admit). Degree-seeking graduate students admitted to a doctoral degree program (Ph.D. or D.M.A.) without reservation.
  6. Conditional Doctoral Degree Seeking - (Provisional Graduate). Degree-seeking graduate students admitted to a Ph.D. or D.M.A. program who have not yet fulfilled all admission requirements specified by the academic unit responsible for the degree program.

Full admission of provisional graduate students to a degree program and appropriate reclassification are subject to students' removal of deficiencies and approval of satisfactory performance.

Admission to graduate study and to a particular degree program is no guarantee that students will be advanced to candidacy or granted a higher degree. All candidates are expected to perform at a consistently high level and to satisfy all the requirements for the degree. The final determination, as to whether or not students will be recommended for a graduate degree, is made by the graduate faculty in the fields concerned. The graduate faculty reserves the right to deal with exceptional cases on individual merit.

Degree-seeking graduate students who plan to change their field of study must reapply for admission and be regularly admitted to the desired graduate program in the new department or school.

The following three admission categories are used for non-degree-seeking graduate students:

  1. Non-Regular Graduate - Continuing Education, Non-Degree-Seeking Student - (College Continuing Education). Students taking courses for graduate credit through the Division of Continuing Education. It should be noted that admission to this category (generally through self-certification) does not constitute regular admission to a graduate program at UMKC. However, on the recommendation of the advisor and approval by the graduate officer, a limited number of graduate credit courses (normally no more than six credit hours) may be applied to individual degree programs after students have been regularly admitted to do graduate study (see Application for Graduate Study, above).
  2. Visiting Graduate Student - (Visiting). This includes students who have been properly certified as graduate students at an accredited institution other than UMKC, and have permission to enroll in specific courses (including 5000-level courses) at UMKC. Note: Students who have previously been enrolled in a UMKC graduate program must have been in good academic standing at the end of their last UMKC graduate enrollment to take graduate courses as a visiting graduate student.
  3. Graduate Special Non-Degree Seeking - (Non-Degree Graduate Special). This classification is used for three categories of students: (1) Community access, non-degree-seeking students wanting access to graduate level courses not available through continuing education; (2) Potential graduate applicants, not meeting requirements for conditional admission and wanting to take graduate-level courses in order to qualify for admission; and (3) Community access students applying to graduate certificate programs. The following restrictions apply to Non-Degree Graduate Special Classification graduate students:
    • Students apply to the academic unit, if declared. If undeclared, students are admitted as undeclared graduate students in the College of Arts and Sciences.
    • All graduate academic regulations apply.
    • Students must have a baccalaureate degree prior to admission.
    • Students are subject to the campus graduate academic probation and ineligibility policies.
    • Students with a Non-Degree Graduate Special classification are not eligible for financial aid unless they are enrolling at least half-time in a graduate certificate program.
    • International students may not be issued I-20 forms for admission under a Non-Degree Graduate Special classification.
    • International students considered under the Non-Degree Graduate Special classification must meet the University standards for evidence of English proficiency.
    • Students admitted under this classification must reapply to the academic unit and be admitted to a graduate degree program in order to be changed to degree-seeking status.
    • At the discretion of a department or area, the graduate-level courses completed with a grade of B (3.0) or better while classified as a Non-Degree Graduate Special student may be applied toward a graduate degree in that department or area. Of the courses listed on a degree, no more than 12 semester credit hours may have been completed while enrolled as a Non-Degree Graduate Special student.

All non-degree-seeking graduate students (College Continuing Education, Visiting, and Non-Degree Graduate Special) wishing to enter a degree program must reapply for and be regularly admitted to the department or school from which they want to receive an advanced degree.

Exceptions to Academic Regulations

Campuswide Exceptions

Petitions for an exception to a campuswide graduate academic regulation must originate with the student. It must be processed through the graduate officer and dean or program director in charge of the student's graduate degree program and forwarded to the dean of the School of Graduate Studies. Only the dean, or the designated representative, are authorized to grant an exception to the graduate academic regulations applying to all graduate students. Petitions must be in writing and include (1) the reason for requesting the exception and a detailed justification from the student; (2) recommendation for action by the appropriate graduate officer; (3) recommendation for action by the department or division chair (if applicable); and (4) recommendation for action by the appropriate dean or program director. The graduate dean or designated representative will review the petition and related documentation and render a decision which will be communicated in writing to the academic dean or director, the graduate officer, the student and the registrar.

Program-Specific Exceptions

Petitions for exception to a program-specific academic regulation are handled within the academic unit's degree program. A graduate student who has petitioned for an exception to a program-specific academic regulation and whose petition has been denied may appeal the decision to the dean of the School of Graduate Studies if all other remedies open to the appellant have been exhausted at the department and college, school or program level. Appeals to the dean of the School of Graduate Studies must be made in writing within 14 consecutive days from the date the student received the written notice of the petition decision. The dean of the School of Graduate Studies will investigate the case and take appropriate action in a timely manner. The decision of the graduate dean, as the chancellor's designated representative, is final and will be communicated in writing to the student, the graduate officer, the academic dean or director and the registrar.

Graduate Courses and Grading Policies

Course Designations

In general, courses numbered 5000 and above are open only to regularly admitted graduate and Ph.D. students.

Courses numbered 300 to 499 are upper division junior- and senior-level courses. Graduate students who enroll in such courses have the option of designating them, at the time of enrollment, as being "not for graduate credit." If the student chooses this option, the grade will not be included in the student's graduate grade-point average and the course may not be included on the graduate or Ph.D. program/plan of study and will not count toward a graduate degree. In order for a 300- or 400-level course to be accepted for graduate credit, students will be expected to do supplementary work (additional reading, projects, papers and contact hours with the instructor) and to demonstrate graduate-level competency and achievement in the subject. Also, students must take the course for graduate credit and complete it with a grade of B- (2.7) or better. The total number of acceptable 300- to 400-level courses to be applied to requirements for a graduate degree may not exceed 40 percent of the total number of courses applied to graduate or non-interdisciplinary doctoral-degree requirements, or one-third of the total number of courses on the approved Interdisciplinary Ph.D. plan of study.

Courses at the 100- and 200-level are not available for graduate credit and will not be applied toward the number of hours required for a graduate degree.

Courses numbered 5580 to 5589 generally are reserved for seminars, workshops and special topics. Consult individual degree programs for possible restrictions on such offerings. The course numbers 5590 to 5598 usually are reserved for non-thesis research, directed studies and readings. Courses numbered 5599 are restricted to research leading to a thesis. Considering this numbering system, no more than 40 percent of courses numbered 5590 to 5599, or other courses which fall in the categories listed above for that course number range, may be applied to a graduate degree program of study, with the exception of the Interdisciplinary Ph.D. study.

Courses numbered 5695 to 5699 are restricted to research leading to a dissertation. Continuous Graduate Enrollment is numbered 5899.
Note: The numbering of graduate courses in the School of Dentistry differs from the system described above.

Course Restrictions

Policy on Admission of Undergraduates to Graduate-Level Courses

In addition to regularly admitted graduate students, seniors who meet the requirements below, and who have obtained the necessary approvals and received permission from the School of Graduate Studies may enroll in a limited number of courses numbered in the 5000 series and above, or may enroll in appropriate 300- and 400-level courses for graduate credit.

Minimum requirements

  • Seniors within 12 credits of graduation who have a 3.0 GPA or better in their college work; or
  • Seniors within 30 credits of graduation who have a 3.5 GPA in their college work.

To request permission to take a graduate-level course, the senior must:

  1. Obtain a request to take graduate-level course form and an advising transcript from the Registrar's Office. (Forms also are available on-line at
  2. Fill out the request to take graduate-level course form, attach a copy of the advising transcript to the form and seek written approval on the form from the course instructor; the dean or director of the academic unit in which the requested course is offered; and the student's undergraduate advisor.
  3. Once the above steps have been completed, submit the form to the School of Graduate Studies for final approval. This last step should occur no later than four weeks before regular registration.

This policy does not generally apply to 5000-level courses in the Bloch School of Business and Public Administration open exclusively to graduate students. However, Bloch School seniors may begin work on the M.B.A., M.P.A. or M.S. in accounting degree if pre-approved by the Bloch School based on their formal application and admission to the graduate degree program.

This procedure is intended to allow a degree of flexibility in planning the academic programs of degree-seeking seniors who clearly have shown academic merit and plan to pursue advanced study after graduation. This option is not available for post-baccalaureate students (code 4-E).

In all cases, eligible students may enroll in no more than six credits of graduate-level courses or courses for graduate credit through this procedure. In addition, first-semester seniors who enroll in graduate-level courses are limited to a total enrollment of no more than 15 hours for the semester. Graduate-level courses (5000 and above) are to be selected from those courses generally offered to first-semester or first-year graduate students. Courses such as special topics, individual studies and directed research designed for advanced graduate students are not eligible under these provisions.

Students may petition that the courses can be taken for graduate credit or undergraduate credit. Credit may be applied to requirements for a graduate or a bachelor's degree, but not both unless the course is part of an approved Bachelor's-Master's Dual Degree program or Bachelor's-Graduate Certificate program to which the student has already been admitted.

Requests by students who meet all the requirements stated above will be approved by the dean of the School of Graduate Studies or designated representative. In exceptional cases, students who do not meet the requirements stated above may present a petition to the dean of the School of Graduate Studies. Such petitions must be presented to the school no later than four weeks before the beginning of the term for which enrollment is sought.

Students who do not meet the above criteria but who register for a graduate-level course will be withdrawn administratively from the course. Fees paid for the course will be refunded.

Graduate-Credit, Continuing Education Courses

Graduate-credit courses are offered on an irregular basis at both off-campus and on-campus locations through the Division of Continuing Education, in conjunction with various instructional divisions.

Students may enroll in such courses and earn graduate credit without being regularly admitted to a graduate program. However, application of such credits toward an advanced degree can be determined only after students have been regularly admitted to graduate study. Such application depends upon the acceptance of students and the course by the respective department or division offering the degree. Students are responsible for determining whether these credits will satisfy the requirements of their particular educational goals and should make such determination before registering for the course.

Grading System

The following is the +/- grading scale and grade-point system used at UMKC. This +/- grading scale and grade point system is used by all faculty, in all undergraduate, graduate, and professional programs.

Letter Grade Description Points per Semester Hour
A The highest grade 4.0
A- 3.7
B+ 3.3
B Work of distinction 3.0
B- 2.7
C+ 2.3
C Average work 2.0
C- 1.7
D+ 1.3
D Passing, but unsatisfactory 1.0
D- 0.7
F Failure without credit 0.0
NR Not Reported 0.0
WF Withdrew Failing -
W Withdrew; no-academic assessment -
I Incomplete -
AT Audit -
CR Credit only -
NC No Credit -
P Passing -
S Satisfactory -

In terms prior to and including 1985, any of the above grades might be preceded by an R indicating a repeated course. These grades are not included in either total hours or the grade-point average. (Examples: RC, RD, RF.) Since 1985, all grades, including those in repeated courses, are included in the GPA calculation. For the 1993 Fall Semester, UMKC began using the plus/minus grading system for grades A, B, C and D. The grade of A+ is valid only for students in the School of Law.

Incomplete Grades

An instructor may give a grade of incomplete (I) to students who have been unable to complete the work of the course because of illness or other valid reasons beyond their control. Students who receive an incomplete must complete the required work within one calendar year to avoid an F (failure without credit). The instructor may specify a shorter completion period. A grade of incomplete is only appropriate when enough work in the course has been completed that the student can finish the remaining work without re-enrolling in the course in question, or by attending additional classes. In other instances, students should withdraw. Students cannot re-enroll in a course for which an incomplete remains on the record. Furthermore, graduate students cannot graduate with an incomplete on their record.

This policy is exclusive of those courses which are considered directed individual studies; internships; special topics; practicums; research and thesis; and research and dissertation courses. Because completion of such courses will quite often span several terms, incomplete grades assigned in such courses will not automatically lapse to an "F" grade after one calendar year, but will adhere to the completion period specified by the instructor.

Policy on Repeated Graduate-Credit Courses

Whenever students repeat a graduate-credit course, they must submit a course repeat form to the Registration and Records Office no later than the fourth week of the term. Students seeking graduate degrees are limited to repeating no more than 20 percent of the credits applicable toward a graduate degree. If approved by the school or department or Interdisciplinary Ph.D. supervisory committee, students may repeat a course once to improve the grade-point average or satisfy the program requirements. The second grade received will be used to calculate the grade-point average that will be used in satisfying degree requirements.

Requirements for Retention

Graduate Probation Policy

Graduate students, regardless of classification, must maintain a 3.0 (B) grade-point average in all coursework taken for graduate credit at UMKC and must meet any additional academic requirements imposed by the school, department or Interdisciplinary Ph.D. discipline. Students are responsible for keeping apprised of their academic status by referring to term grades and their permanent academic record on file in the UMKC Registration and Records Office.

Whenever the cumulative GPA for UMKC courses taken for graduate credit by a graduate student of any classification falls below 3.0, the student's status for the next term becomes: "On Probation - See principal graduate advisor." (Interdisciplinary Ph.D. students will be directed to consult their interim advisor or research advisor.) The principal graduate advisor, interim advisor or research advisor will review the student's progress and provide counsel, and the following conditions apply:

  • While on probation, a graduate student must achieve a 3.0 term GPA in order to enroll for the following term.
  • A graduate student on probation who is not restored to good academic standing by the end of two successive regular semesters following the term in which the cumulative GPA fell below 3.0 will be declared ineligible to re-enroll.
  • A graduate student on probation will not be restored to good standing until a cumulative graduate-credit GPA of at least 3.0 is achieved.

Ineligibility for Further Graduate Study

Ineligibility Following Academic Probation

In the case of ineligibility following academic probation, the graduate student may present a petition for re-enrollment to the principal graduate advisor of the student's academic program. Petitions will be reviewed by the graduate faculty member responsible for the student's degree program. That faculty member will make a written recommendation to the appropriate administrative levels within that academic unit approving or denying of the petition. The approval or denial action may include:

  • Approval for further graduate study in the student's current field of study and in the same classification but on a restricted probation basis (as defined in written contract).
  • Approval for further graduate study in the student's current field of study in a different student classification and on a restricted basis.
  • Denial for further graduate study in the student's current field but approval for undergraduate study only.
  • Denial for further study, either graduate or undergraduate, in the student's current field of study.

Ineligibility Due to Unsatisfactory Progress or Performance

When a department or school or Interdisciplinary Ph.D. supervisory committee, irrespective of a student's grade-point average, considers a graduate student's performance to be unsatisfactory, that department, school or committee may recommend to the dean or director of the academic unit in which the student's degree is housed that the student be reclassified or declared ineligible for further study. The dean or director reviews the recommendation and conveys a decision to the respective faculty group and the student.

Students in programs other than the Interdisciplinary Ph.D. program who have been declared ineligible due to unsatisfactory progress or performance may appeal such decisions to the dean of the School of Graduate Studies, as designee of the chancellor. Students in the Interdisciplinary Ph.D. program may appeal such decisions to the provost, as designee of the chancellor. Such appeals must be made in writing within 14 consecutive days after receipt of the notification to the student of the decision.

The decision of the graduate dean or provost, as the chancellor's designated representative in such cases, is final and will be communicated in writing to the following:

  1. The student
  2. The graduate faculty review group(s)
  3. The academic dean or director
  4. The registrar

Retroactive Withdrawals

A student may petition for Retroactive Withdrawal from a course(s)or from the university (all courses taken during that semester), if circumstances of a serious and compelling nature prevented the completion of course work and extenuating circumstances prevented submission of a regular withdrawal petition by the deadline on the Academic Calendar. In filing a Petition for Retroactive Withdrawal, withdrawal from all courses taken during the term in question is normally expected since 'extenuating circumstances' are not course-specific.

Petitions must be submitted to the School or College (academic unit) where the student’s current major is housed. Each academic unit will assemble a retroactive withdrawal committee that will make decisions on all retroactive withdrawal petitions. Approved retroactive withdrawal petitions which require a change of grade will follow standard change of grade procedures. A copy of the approved petition and supporting documentation should be attached to the grade change form when it is submitted to the Registration and Records office.

Petitions that are approved by the home academic unit for courses that reside outside of the home academic unit will be forwarded to the host academic unit retroactive withdrawal committee along with all supporting documentation. The host retroactive withdrawal committee will forward their decision back to the home academic unit.

If the petition for retroactive withdrawal is denied by either home or host retroactive withdrawal committee, the student has the right to appeal the decision to their home academic unit Dean. The decision of the home Dean is final.

If the home academic unit Dean approves a petition for coursework that is housed in a host academic unit, the paperwork will be forward to the host academic unit Dean for a decision. The host dean will forward their decision back to the home academic unit. The decision of the host Dean is final.

Students who submit a retroactive withdrawal are not typically candidates for fee refunds.

For courses taken while enrolled in the Interdisciplinary Ph.D. program in the School of Graduate Studies and the Schools of Dentistry, Law, Medicine, and Pharmacy, students should refer to the retroactive withdrawals policies and procedures of these schools as they may have more stringent requirements.

Students are not a candidate for retroactive withdrawal if any of the following conditions are true:

You are applying because you are not satisfied with the grade you earned.

You are applying because you neglected to formally withdraw from the course(s) in question.

You were not aware of the withdrawal deadlines.

You changed your major and are now working towards a major or degree which does not require this course.

You assumed non-academic activities which restricted your time for academic pursuit.

You were ill or you suffered stress as the result of an accident, death, family crisis, or other crisis early enough in the semester to have withdrawn during the semester.

You have already received a UMKC degree for which the course(s) in question were applied towards degree requirements and/or your UM GPA.

If any of the above are found to be true of your case, your request for retroactive withdrawal will be denied.

Students may be candidates for retroactive withdrawal if any of the following conditions are true:

There was a documented administrative error that affected your enrollment in one or more courses.

You have documentation of a serious illness that affected your ability to complete all of your coursework after the withdrawal date.

You encountered documented extreme and unusual circumstances which a) were beyond your control, b) occurred after the withdrawal date, and c) could not have been addressed during the term in which the course(s) was taken.

Process for submitting a Retroactive Withdrawal Petition:

  1. To withdraw retroactively from the university or specific courses, the student must present official supporting documents which demonstrate serious and compelling reasons (usually due to serious accident or illness) justifying the withdrawal and extenuating circumstances justifying its 'retro' nature.
  2. The student collects supporting documentation submits the entire package (Retroactive Withdrawal form and official supporting documentation) to the School or College where their major is housed.
  3. All decisions will be made by each School or College Retroactive Withdrawal or Petition for Exception Committee.
  4. Individual instructor’s feedback should be considered with all petitions.
  5. Once a decision is made the home School or College will send all documentation to the Registration & Records Office.

The retroactive withdrawal policy is effective as of Summer 2010 and applies to all students, regardless of the catalog year the student entered the University

Requirements for Graduation

Program of Study

Graduate education is intended to answer the personal needs of students and the special needs of society not satisfied through undergraduate training. Graduate degrees indicate that the holders have sufficiently mastered a program in a particular field to pursue creative projects in that specialty. The degrees are awarded for completion of a coherent program -- formalized as the program or plan of study -- designed to assure the mastery of specified knowledge and skills. Forms for specifying individual programs or plans of study are available from the principal graduate advisor (Arts and Sciences) or graduate officer of the academic unit.

Students may elect to fulfill either the degree requirements in effect at the time of their original admission (provided there has not been a lapse in attendance at UMKC of more than two consecutive terms) or the degree requirements in effect at the time of advisement into a planned graduate program of study.

No course at the 300- or 400-level taken on a credit/no credit basis; no 300- or 400-level course with a grade below B- (2.7); and no 5000-level or higher course with a grade below C (2.0), will count toward any advanced degree program. Additionally, 80 percent of the credits for the degree must be passed with a grade of B (3.0) or better. Students admitted to the combined J.D./MBA program must receive grades of B or better in 80 percent of Bloch School courses. Because of different grading standards, the transferred law hours are not included in the 80 percent calculation. Degree programs may have requirements which are more stringent. If so, the program requirement takes precedence over the campus minimums. Final GPA  at the time the degree is conferred (graduate certificates, masters and PhD degrees) must be 3.0 or higher for courses completed on the plan of study.  Exceptions to this policy require a petition signed by the student's advisor and the Dean of the School of Graduate Studies.

Thesis and Dissertation Preparation and Approval Process

Formatting Regulations

Some master's degree programs have a thesis requirement and some have a thesis option. All Ph.D. degree programs at UMKC require a dissertation. The School of Graduate Studies, guided by the Graduate Officers Committee, establishes the format regulations for theses and dissertations (T/Ds) at UMKC. Degree candidates are responsible for familiarizing themselves with and adhering to the standards of the latest edition of the "Manual for Writers of Term Papers, Theses and Dissertations" edited by Kate Turabian. They also must become familiar with the special format regulations for title page; abstract format and length; approval page; order of manuscript sections; paper; page numbering; heading levels; margins; and type style and size; which are outlined in the "University of Missouri-Kansas City Guide to Formatting Theses and Dissertations" which is available online at Bibliographic references must follow Turabian guidelines unless the student's academic program has an alternate bibliographic reference format approved by, and on file with, the School of Graduate Studies. Candidates should check with the principal graduate advisor in their respective academic units to determine the approved bibliographic reference format standard for their degree programs. Any variances from the standards outlined in the "University of Missouri-Kansas City Guide to Formatting Theses and Dissertations", Turabian and discipline-approved bibliographic reference styles must be requested in writing and approved in advance by the dean of the School of Graduate Studies. A copy of the dean's official letter authorizing exceptions to formatting standards must be included as an appendix to the T/D.

The School of Graduate Studies provides formatting workshops at the beginning of each fall and spring semester. In addition, degree candidates may schedule individual conferences with the school's T/D Formatting Specialist during the first four weeks of the fall or spring semester and the first two weeks of the summer term to make sure they have interpreted the formatting guidelines correctly and to seek guidance on specialized formatting problems. Candidates should call the School of Graduate Studies office, (816) 235-1161, for time and place of workshops or to schedule a formatting conference.

Supervisory Committee Review and Approval of T/Ds

Approval of the T/D begins with the degree candidate's supervisory committee. Candidates work closely with their research advisors while writing the various sections of the manuscript. The candidate's supervisory committee shall ensure that the scholarly content and style of the T/D is in keeping with recognized standards of the chosen discipline(s). Graduate degree candidates should periodically provide all members of their supervisory committee with preliminary drafts of the T/D for review and comment. Final drafts of the T/D, which incorporate all substantive revisions supervisory committee members have previously requested, should be submitted to all members of the candidate's supervisory committee at least eight weeks before the expected date of graduation. For both master's and doctoral-level degree candidates, when the supervisory committee members feel the work is complete and ready for final defense by the candidate, the committee members notify the supervisory committee chair by completing a Master’s Pre-Oral Defense form or Doctoral Dissertation Pre-Oral Defense form and forwarding it to the supervisory committee chair. The supervisory committee chair and student may then schedule a final defense of the work.

School of Graduate Studies Review and Certification of Acceptance of T/Ds

The deadline for submitting the T/D to the School of Graduate Studies for certification of acceptance is printed in the calendar section of the schedule of classes for each term. The actual date varies, but it is approximately six weeks before the end of the fall or spring semesters and four weeks before the end of the summer session. Prior to the published deadline for the term in which the degree candidates expect to graduate, they must present the following to the School of Graduate Studies office:

  • One unbound copy of the T/D in final form, but not printed on archival quality, acid-free paper.
  • The signed Preliminary Approval of T/D by Supervisory Committee form.

T/Ds normally will not be accepted for review for graduation during the current term unless they are received in the School of Graduate Studies by the published deadline. In the school, the T/D is reviewed by a Thesis/Dissertation Formatting Specialist for conformity to the campus formatting standards and by the graduate dean for quality of content. The school's review process generally takes from two to four weeks. The candidate will be notified to pick up the T/D and make all necessary formatting corrections before resubmitting the T/D to the School of Graduate Studies. Candidates who are out of the city must make arrangements to have the copy picked up locally or returned, collect, by messenger service.

After the T/D defense, the student should submit a corrected final draft on plain paper to the School of Graduate Studies. This draft should be accompanied by the Master’s Thesis Final Evaluation forms or Doctoral Dissertation Final Evaluation forms completed by each committee member. The graduate dean will review the thesis or dissertation for certification of acceptance. If the T/D has significant formatting problems, it will be returned to the candidate without further review or certification. The candidate will be required to make all necessary formatting corrections and resubmit the T/D to the School of Graduate Studies. If this happens, the candidate's graduation may be delayed. Enrollment in an additional term of continuous-graduate enrollment may be required.

Preliminary approval forms, Master's Thesis Preliminary and Final evaluation forms and Doctoral Dissertation Preliminary and Final evaluation forms are available from the School of Graduate Studies office in the Administrative Center (5115 Oak St.) and online at

When both components of the School of Graduate Studies review of the T/D are complete, the candidate is notified. If further format corrections are required, the School of Graduate Studies will hold the certificate of acceptance until appropriate revisions are made and rechecked by the formatting specialist. The candidate then picks up the certified copy of the T/D and the certificate of acceptance from the School of Graduate Studies office and may prepare their final copy to upload to ProQuest. (See Final Thesis Examination and Supervisory Committee Approval under Master's Degrees Academic Regulations and Final Dissertation Examination under Doctoral Degree Programs (Ed.D., Ph.D., D.M.A.) later in this section.) Candidates who are out of the city must make arrangements to have the certified copy picked up locally or returned, collect, by messenger service.

Deposit of T/Ds with the Library

The candidate makes any final revisions requested by committee members at the defense or the School of Graduate Studies and then uploads an electronic copy of the document in portable document format (PDF) to ProQuest.  The PDF copy is then transmitted to the University of Missouri system institutional repository, MOSpace, where the document is made available via the world wide web.  As an added optional service, ProQuest will handle the copyrighting process for theses and dissertations, if desired.  Students will pay an archival copy fee when they upload the document, plus an additional fee if they choose to have ProQuest handle the copyright registration.  Submission to ProQuest must be accomplished no later than the Friday immediately preceding the first day of classes for the next term.

Thesis/Dissertation Embargo Policy

As a model urban research university, UMKC takes great pride in the scholarly and creative contributions of its students and faculty. These works should be shared with the academic community as soon as possible. The School of Graduate Studies requires that all theses and dissertations be made publicly available upon degree conferral. In limited circumstances, there may be a reason to delay the public access to a dissertation for a short period of time. The School of Graduate Studies will consider requests for delay in public access to a dissertation if:

  1. The student (or his or her collaborators) is applying for a patent on research contained in the dissertation, and does not wish to make the contents public until the patent application has been filed.
  2. Patentable rights in the work or other issues in which disclosure may be detrimental to the rights or interests of the author.
  3. The need to prevent disclosure of any sponsor information about persons, institutions, technologies, and proprietary information that has restricted time frames.
  4. The interest of an academic or commercial press in acquiring the rights to publish your dissertation or thesis as a book or composition.
  5. Content that is likely to be or has already been submitted to a peer-reviewed journal.

Although there may be additional circumstances in which a student may request an embargo, the School of Graduate Studies will generally not approve requests to restrict access to thesis/dissertations without compelling reasons.

Embargo Policy: A graduate student or their advisor may apply to the School of Graduate Studies to delay the distribution of their master’s thesis or doctoral dissertation for a limited amount of time (1 year). Such requests must be reviewed and approved by the chair (and co-chair, if any) of the dissertation committee, and approved by the Dean of the School Graduate Studies. Additional time may be requested under unusual circumstances, although approval is not guaranteed. It is the student's responsibility to request the embargo and any possible extension, if applicable. Although the full text of thesis or dissertation will be embargoed, the title and abstract will be made available after degree conferral.

It may be possible to request an extension of the original embargo in one-year increments. Requests for an extension should be directed to the School of Graduate Studies. Documentation of a pending publishing contract or sponsor imposed restrictions is required for an extension. It is the graduate’s responsibility to request an extension.

When dissertations are submitted in digital form, public access to the digital form of the dissertation poses another question for some new graduates. Selected journals and publishers have adopted policies that prohibit the publication of material that has been widely distributed on the web. If the dissertation is submitted electronically, and made easily available to the public through search tools, this small group of publishers may consider the dissertation “pre-published,” and will not consider it for publication. To address this issue, we will give students the option to limit digital access to their dissertations to users at the University of Missouri-system for a limited period of time. Not to exceed 3 years from the date of degree conferral. With this restriction on public access, the dissertation will not be considered “pre-published.”

Application for Graduation

Completing degree requirements does not automatically result in conferral of the degree. Students must request that the University review their academic record and certify that degree requirements have been met. To make this request, students must file applications for graduation with the registrar no later than the end of the fourth week of the semester in which the degrees will be completed. Students graduating at the end of the summer session must file an application for graduation no later than the end of the second week of the summer session. An approved program/plan of study must be on file with the registrar at the time the student makes application to graduate. Filing applications for graduation initiates degree checks in the Registrar's Office. The students and their advisors receive a degree checklist which indicates any deficiencies the students must clear. Students should contact their advisors if there are questions about the checklist. The application for graduation also places candidates' names in the commencement program. In addition, when completion of degree requirements have been certified by the registrar, the Registrar's Office authorizes the diploma order.

Specific term deadlines for all graduate requirements are announced in the schedule of classes for each term. Students are responsible for being aware of and meeting these deadlines.

The registrar will certify degree completion if students' academic records (transcripts) show that they have completed all of the requirements listed on the approved program/plan of study.


Advanced degree candidates are urged to attend commencement. Students should arrange for rental or purchase of a cap and gown at the University Bookstore at least six weeks before the graduation date.

Time Limit on Degree Credit for Master's and Educational-Specialist Degrees

Credit over seven years old at the time of graduation, which is included on the master's or educational-specialist program of study and has not been applied to a previous degree, may not be counted toward the fulfillment of a graduate degree program unless validated to the satisfaction of the department or school and the School of Graduate Studies. Petitions and affidavits for this purpose may be obtained from the School of Graduate Studies. A maximum of 30 percent of the student's program of study may be validated under this procedure.

In connection with an authorized leave of absence, an exception to the time limitation may be approved in advance.