The Graduate School

JOHN F. PRITCHETT, Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean

MICHAEL LISANO, Associate Dean

STEPHEN L. McFARLAND, Interim Associate Dean

Part 1 of 11

Graduate student enrollment at Auburn University has increased for the past ten years, and now exceeds three thousand. Continued growth is expected with the University's mounting reputation as a graduate institution and increases in contract and grant funding. In addition, the Graduate Faculty includes a thousand outstanding members who hold degrees from more than 140 universities from around the nation and the world.

Auburn University has a proud history of 142 years and graduate education has been an integral part for 128 of those years, the first Master of Arts being awarded to Howard M. Hammill in 1870. Since then, 24,778 other graduate degrees have been awarded (through August 1997), including 3,353 doctorates.

There was no Auburn University when Mr. Hammill received that first M.A. The institution then was East Alabama Male College.

The area which includes Auburn was first opened to settlement in 1836 by removal of the Creek Indians, and the City of Auburn was founded the same year by Judge J. J. Harper and others from Harris County, Georgia. Judge Harper's daughter-in-law, Elizabeth Taylor Harper, suggested the name. She was moved by Oliver Goldsmith's poem, "The Deserted Village," which sings, "Sweet Auburn, loveliest village of the plain."

The college which would become Auburn University was chartered in 1856 as the Methodist-supported East Alabama Male College. A single four-story building was completed in 1859, and eighty students enrolled. Five men were graduated in the spring. When Alabama seceded from the Union, all the students resigned to enlist. The college building, Old Main, was used as a Confederate hospital from 1864 until classes resumed in 1866. Old Main burned in 1887 and was replaced on the same site by Samford Hall in 1888. Samford Hall still stands, serving as the university's administrative headquarters and housing the offices of the university president and the provost. Hargis Hall, home of the Graduate School offices, is a year older and has served students for 110 years.

The college struggled in the shattered Southern economy during the years after the Civil War and the Methodist Church granted it to the state in 1872 for use as a land-grant university under the Morrill Act, signed by President Lincoln in 1862. The institution thus became the Agricultural and Mechanical College of Alabama, changing from a private liberal arts school to a state-supported college with an emphasis on new scientific and agricultural programs. Continuous expansion followed and, in 1899, the Legislature decided a new name was needed to reflect the widened role of the institution. It became the Alabama Polytechnic Institute.

From the first, however, virtually everyone connected with the university largely ignored official names, preferring always the name Mrs. Harper had selected for the city. As Charles C. Thach, the university's sixth president, said, "The Alabama Polytechnic Institute, a high sounding phrase, is fit for legal documents and grave legislation, but not to conjure with and not to yell and not to dream with as is 'Fair Auburn.'" The Legislature agreed in 1960, and Alabama Polytechnic Institute became Auburn University.

An important milestone in development of graduate education was the appointment in 1921 of Dr. George Petrie as the first dean of the Graduate School. Until then, graduate work was administered by the president and the registrar. Dr. Petrie, head professor of the Department of History, served as dean until his retirement in 1942.

On January 15, 1995, Dr. John F. Pritchett was appointed Interim Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean of the Graduate School and assumed that permanent position effective October 1, 1996. Other deans have included Dr. Russell Spurgeon Poor, 1944-1948; Dr. Fred Allison, 1948-1953; Dr. W. V. Parker, 1953-1972; Dr. Paul F. Parks, 1972-1985; Dr. Warren W. Brandt, acting dean 1985-1986; and Dr. Norman J. Doorenbos, 1986-1994.

In 1952, the Board of Trustees authorized programs leading to the degrees of Doctor of Philosophy and Doctor of Education. The first doctoral degree was awarded in Zoology-Entomology in June 1955.

Frequently Contacted Campus Offices

The Graduate School is open 7:45-11:45 a.m. and 12:45-4:45 p.m., Monday through Friday.

Dean John Pritchett--(334) 844-2125, Associate Dean Michael E. Lisano--(334) 844-2135, Interim Associate Dean Stephen L. McFarland--(334) 844-2131

Assistantships: Call the head or chair of the department in which the student wishes to enroll.

The Graduate Student Organization

The Graduate Student Organization (GSO) is open to all graduate students at Auburn University and promotes graduate education, research and student welfare. The organization works with the Graduate School and other administrative branches of the University to improve the conditions under which graduate students live and work. The GSO is a member of the National Association of Graduate and Professional Students.

The organization publishes The Graduate Student Guide, an introductory booklet on how to make the most of the graduate experience at Auburn. The GSO Times, a newsletter including the latest announcements and other GSO news, is available quarterly.

The GSO represents graduate students from 125 academic programs in 65 departments on campus, and is guided by graduate student senators from these programs. They are under the direction of an Executive Committee of four officers and the chairs of six standing committees. Appointments to many university committees are made through the GSO leadership.

The GSO promotes social and academic interaction between graduate students, Auburn University faculty, administration and the community. Orientation picnics, seasonal socials, research forums, workshops on career placement and opportunities, the GSO Times and the perks programs are just a few of the services and activities GSO provides for graduate students.

Information for Students Holding Graduate Assistantships

Each graduate assistant must be registered for at least one hour during each quarter of appointment as an assistant. Benefits granted faculty and staff are not available to assistants, but they receive the same benefits as other University students. In addition, graduate assistants receiving support from a one-fourth time or greater appointment are charged the lower state resident tuition and other fees even if they are from another state.

Graduate assistant appointments are temporary, and continuance depends upon availability of funds, level of enrollment and research needs. All graduate students employed in instruction complete faculty service reports for each quarter.

Salaries are paid in accordance with the budget policies and payroll procedures of the University. The Board of Trustees is obligated to pay certain fixed charges against the institution and thereafter to pay salaries in full insofar as funds are available. If for any reason beyond the control of the Board of Trustees funds are not available, then salaries will be prorated.

Work loads for graduate assistants are defined on the basis of a normal teaching load or the equivalent time in other duties as determined by each department head and the dean of the school or college in which the assistant is employed. For example, a one-third work load is one-third of a normal teaching load. Maximum course loads for graduate students working on assistantships are determined by individual departments. It is recommended that a graduate student working more than half-time not carry a full academic load.

If an assistant voluntarily resigns during an appointment period, or does not accept extension or reappointment, a letter of resignation to the student's department is required from the student.

Oak Ridge Associated Universities

Auburn University has been a sponsoring institution of the Oak Ridge Associated Universities (ORAU) since 1946. ORAU is a private, not-for-profit consortium of 82 colleges and universities and a management and operating contractor for the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) with principal offices located in Oak Ridge, Tennessee. Founded in 1946, ORAU provides and develops capabilities critical to the nation's technology infrastructure, particularly in energy, education, health and the environment. ORAU works with and for its member institutions to help faculty and students gain access to federal research facilities; to keep members informed about opportunities for fellowship, scholarship and research appointments; and to organize research alliances among our members in areas where their collective strengths can be focused on issues of national importance.

ORAU manages the Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education (ORISE) for DOE. ORISE is responsible for national and international programs in science and engineering education, training and management systems, energy and environment systems and medical sciences. ORISE's competitive programs bring students at all levels, K-12 through postgraduate, and university faculty members into federal and private laboratories.

Other ORAU activities include the sponsorship of conferences and workshops, the Visiting Scholars program and the Junior Faculty Enhancement Awards.

Contact Dr. Bryan A. Chin, (334) 844-4784, for more information about ORAU programs.

General Regulations

Regulations governing the Graduate School equal or exceed the standards of the Conference of Southern Graduate Schools and the Commission on Colleges and Universities of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. Regulations listed here represent the minimums of the Graduate School. However, individual departments may impose more stringent requirements and students will be governed by them.

Admission Requirements

A bachelor's degree or its equivalent from an accredited college or university is required. The Graduate School does not require a master's degree for admission to a doctoral program, although it is required by some departments.

The undergraduate preparation must satisfy a screening committee of the school or department involved. If more than ten quarter hours of additional undergraduate work are required, the applicant may be asked to register in an appropriate undergraduate program as an unclassified student.

All applicants except those in Management, M.B.A., or M.Ac. programs, must submit satisfactory scores on the Graduate Record Examinations (GRE) General Test. Management, M.B.A. and M.Ac. applicants must submit satisfactory scores on the Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT).

In addition to the GRE General Test, some departments and programs require satisfactory scores on the GRE Subject Test. Applicants should consult the list on the back of the official Graduate School application. All international applicants also must score at least 550 on the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL).

Applicants for graduate assistantships or fellowships are urged to take the GRE or GMAT in the fall. Applications and dates for all these tests may be obtained at many colleges and universities, or by writing Graduate Record Examinations, Educational Testing Service, CN6000, Princeton, NJ 08541-6000.

Application Procedures

Applications for admission may be obtained from the Graduate School offices or by writing to the Dean of the Graduate School, 106 Hargis Hall, Auburn, AL 36849-5122.

Admission is permitted on approval of the formal application. The approval is valid for a maximum of twelve months beyond the entrance date given on the application. If the student does not register during this period, a new request for approval must be submitted.

Applications and all relevant material must be received by the Graduate School at least three weeks before the first day of classes of the quarter in which the student wishes to begin graduate studies. Deadlines are listed in the Graduate School calendar in the front of this Bulletin.

Applications from domestic students must be accompanied by a $25 fee, those from international students by a $50 fee. In addition, two official transcripts of all undergraduate and any graduate credits must be mailed directly to the Graduate School from EACH school previously attended. Graduates of Auburn University follow the same procedure as other applicants except they do not have to provide a transcript of credits earned at Auburn.

Students whose applications are approved will receive a medical record form with their admission letters. These forms should be returned to the Drake Student Health Center.

Application materials become the property of Auburn University and may not be returned to the applicant or forwarded to other institutions.

The Dean of the Graduate School is the only person authorized to admit students, refuse admission, or waive any requirement.

Admission of Transient Graduate Students

A graduate student in good standing in an accredited college or university may be admitted as a transient when faculty and facilities are available. To be eligible, the student must submit the special Graduate Transient Form prior to the beginning of the quarter for which transient status is requested. The form, available from the Graduate School, must bear the signature of the student's graduate dean or his/her designee.

Transient status is granted for one quarter only and does not constitute admission or matriculation as a degree candidate. Students desiring to enroll for more than a single quarter in a non-degree status should make application to the appropriate GRAD 8, 11 or departmental 13 classification.

Student Classifications

For administrative purposes, Auburn University students are assigned numbered classifications. Those which apply to graduate students are:

06 - Students who hold full admission to Graduate School for work toward a master's degree.

07 - Students who hold full admission to the Specialist in Education program.

08 - Students who meet requirements for admission except that they have not taken the GRE or GMAT. This classification is for one quarter only, and satisfactory scores must be submitted by the end of that quarter. This classification cannot be used by international students, who must submit satisfactory scores on all required examinations before they are admitted.

08GS - One quarter non-degree special admission to Graduate School pending receipt of satisfactory GRE or GMAT scores.

09 - Students who hold full admission to doctoral programs.

11GS - Special admission to Graduate School for non-degree purposes for students who meet all admissions requirements to Graduate School.

13 - Students who hold master's degrees from accredited institutions and who seek professional improvement leading to AA certification or other non-degree objectives.

Non-Graduate Students and Graduate Work

An Auburn University student who will receive a bachelor's degree from this institution may register for graduate courses provided that the following conditions are met: the student has at least a 3.0 GPA, is within 40 quarter hours of graduating, has the written consent of the instructor of each graduate course, and obtains approval in advance from the Graduate School.

A maximum of 10 quarter hours of graduate course work taken in this option later may be applied toward an advanced degree at Auburn University provided that appropriate arrangements are made in advance with the Graduate School, a grade of B or higher is achieved on all courses used for graduate credit, and the total course load taken at the time the student is in a graduate course does not exceed 17 quarter hours.

The same guidelines apply to undergraduate students taking graduate courses for undergraduate credit. A student may not use the same graduate course for both undergraduate and graduate credit.

Any Classification 10 student--that is a post-baccalaureate, non-degree student--desiring enrollment in a graduate course must receive written consent of the instructor and approval of the Graduate Dean in order to register for such a class.

Undergraduate Courses for Graduate Students

A graduate student may register for undergraduate courses under the satisfactory-unsatisfactory grading option if the major professor so recommends. No 0500-level course may be taken under this option. The student must complete the S-U option form available at the Graduate School by the third class day of the quarter.

Transfer of Credit from Other Institutions

Graduate credit taken in residence at another approved graduate school may be transferred to Auburn University, but will not be accepted until the student has completed fifteen hours of work in the Graduate School at Auburn University. No prior commitment is made concerning whether transfer credit will be accepted. A student must earn at least 35 quarter hours, or half of the total hours required for a master's degree, whichever is greater, at Auburn University. A program that requires only 45 hours of credit will be limited to 10 quarter hours of transfer credit. No such limitation is applied to doctoral degrees. The credit must be acceptable to the student's advisory committee and be pertinent to the student's plan of study. No transfer credit will be approved without two official transcripts. No course on which a grade lower than B was earned may be transferred. Also, credit will not be allowed if the combined GPA on graduate work taken at other schools is less than 3.0 on a 4.0 scale, nor may transfer credit be used to improve the GPA on courses taken at Auburn University.

All transferred credit to be counted toward a master's or specialist degree must have been earned within five years of the date the degree is awarded. There is no such time limit on credit for doctoral degrees.

Two-Campus Studies

A student seeking a graduate degree at Auburn University, Auburn University at Montgomery, the University of Alabama, the University of Alabama at Birmingham, or the University of Alabama at Huntsville may take up to half the course work at another of these institutions. The courses taken must be approved in advance by the student's Advisory Committee and the respective graduate deans. All credit must be earned at the two institutions in which the student is working, and none may be transferred from another institution.

Registration and Graduation Requirements

Every student expecting credit toward a graduate degree must be registered with the Graduate School, and no student is considered a candidate for a degree unless properly registered. The student also must be registered in the quarter of graduation and in any other quarter during which the staff or the facilities of the university are used for work on a thesis or dissertation, for the taking of oral examinations, or for removal of an "incomplete" grade. Registration for GRAD 000 (Clearing) suffices for removal of "incomplete" grades and for graduation, but not for other purposes, such as work on a thesis or dissertation, or obtaining final approval of a thesis or dissertation.

Currently enrolled graduate students must register for the next quarter during the period designated for registration, which occurs about the middle of each quarter and is listed in the Graduate School calendar in the front of this Bulletin. Failure to do so will result in the student's being charged a late registration fee of $50. New graduate students and students returning after a period of not being enrolled may register during the registration period for the new quarter or during the late registration period as listed in the calendar.

Students should indicate expected graduation when registering for their final quarter. If a student fails to do that, however, the student must notify the Graduate School by the fifth class day of the quarter that graduation is expected.

NO STUDENT will be permitted to graduate who fails to submit a plan of study to the Graduate School prior to the quarter of expected graduation. Graduation day is the official last day of each quarter and, therefore, is the deadline for submitting plans of study for graduation the following quarter.

It is the responsibility of graduate students to check records for compliance with graduation requirements. This is done by requesting a graduation check at the Graduate School no later than the last day of the quarter preceding the one in which the student expects to graduate.

A graduate student may carry a maximum course load of 17 hours per quarter. This includes undergraduate courses, but does not include 0699 (Research and Thesis) and 0799 (Research and Dissertation) when required of all graduate students in a department each quarter. Graduate students must carry ten hours per quarter or enroll in GS 690/790 with concurrent enrollment for a minimum of one hour of 699/799 to be classified as full-time students. Enrollment in GS 690/790 requires the completion of a certification available at the Graduate School.

Graduate degrees are awarded at the end of each quarter. Candidates wishing to graduate in absentia must inform the Registrar's Office.


The university operates on the quarter system. The Graduate School calendar provided in the front of this Bulletin and also available at the Graduate School, contains the dates of various deadlines of importance. It should be followed carefully.


The dean of the Graduate School is the general counselor to all graduate students. A faculty advisor or major professor will be designated for each student by the head of the major department. There also will be an advisory committee for each student. Some required forms and reports regarding the student's program must be approved by the major professor, advisory committee, department head and the dean of the Graduate School. Students should ascertain which signatures must be obtained.

Due Process

Each graduate student's progress toward a degree will be monitored by the student's advisory committee. If a graduate student is deemed not to be making satisfactory progress toward the degree, the student may be dropped from the Graduate School. Issues of professional and personal development may be considered in determining satisfactory progress toward the degree. A statement of the procedure to be followed in the implementation of this policy is available in the Graduate School office.

Withdrawing from Courses

Courses may be dropped without academic penalty on or before mid-quarter. If a course is dropped after mid-quarter, the student will receive a grade of WF (withdrew failing). Exceptions will be rare.

A student dropping the only course for which the student is registered must resign for the quarter on a separate form obtained from the Graduate School.

Auditing Courses

A graduate student may audit courses. No grade is awarded, but the student must register for all courses audited.

Transfer to a Different Department

For a student to transfer from one department to another requires a new application for admission and the usual application fee.


A GPA of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale must be earned on all courses carrying graduate credit. No more than 15 hours beyond the student's plan of study is allowed in obtaining the GPA. No grade below C is acceptable for credit toward a graduate degree, and each course on which a grade below C is received must be repeated at Auburn University whether or not it is listed on the student's plan of study and will be counted in calculating the GPA. Course credits transferred from another institution may not be used to satisfy this requirement. Grades earned for courses retaken will be included in the GPA, but will not count against the 15-hour limit beyond the student's plan of study in obtaining the minimum GPA.

Honor Points

The Graduate School uses an honor point system in ascertaining the eligibility of students to continue in graduate studies. Grades on all courses, including undergraduate courses, will be used in determining the overall average for continuation in Graduate School. Each grade of A earns one honor point per hour of course credit. Thus, a grade of A on a course offering five hours of credit earns the student five honor points. A grade of B does not earn honor points. A grade of C costs the student an honor point per hour, a grade of D costs two honor points per hour, and a grade of F costs three honor points per hour. A deficiency of sixteen or more honor points in the student's overall academic record, including undergraduate courses, will result in dismissal. The student may return only after undertaking remedial work as an unclassified undergraduate, and when the department involved is willing to certify to the dean of the Graduate School that the student merits readmission.

If, at the end of any term, the number of honor points in a graduate student's academic record, including undergraduate courses taken as a graduate student, falls between -1 and -15, inclusive, below a 3.0 GPA, the student is put on probation and has two additional quarters of enrollment in which to raise the GPA to 3.0 or above. If, at the end of the second probationary quarter an honor-point deficiency remains, the student will be dismissed. Reinstatement procedures are the same as those for students dismissed for a deficiency of 16 or more honor points (the student may return only after undertaking remedial work as an unclassified undergraduate, and when the department involved is willing to certify to the Dean of the Graduate School that the student merits readmission.


A grade of "incomplete" must be removed within the following two quarters or it will be recorded permanently as an F and the course will have to be repeated. This applies regardless of the student's enrollment status. A student not enrolled during one of the two following quarters, such as the summer quarter, is not exempt from this rule. Pending removal or recording as an F, an "incomplete" is counted as a C in determining eligibility for continuing in Graduate School. No student may graduate until "incomplete" grades are removed, and the removal must be completed at least three weeks before the date of graduation, regardless of whether the course is included on the Plan of Study.

Graduate Study and University Employees

An Auburn University faculty member or employee may pursue a graduate degree outside the school or college of employment with the approval of the head of the employing department and the dean of the employing school or college. Inquiries should be made to the Dean of the Graduate School.

Correspondence Work Unacceptable

Study by correspondence shall not be counted toward a graduate degree.

Research Involving Humans

Auburn University established the Institutional Review Board for the Use of Human Subjects in Research (IRB) to evaluate research for compliance with the guidelines and policies of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), the Public Health Service (PSSC), the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and other federal, state and local regulations. All research in which human subjects are used, whether by faculty, staff or students, must be approved in advance by the IRB, regardless of the source of funding, lack of funding or any other consideration. Research involving human subjects not approved in advance may be disallowed and may incur severe penalties for non-compliance with institutional policy. Information and review forms may be obtained from the Administrator for Special Programs, 307D Samford Hall, (334) 844-5966.

Activities Involving Animals

Auburn's Animal Resources Program requires compliance with the Animal Welfare Assurance negotiated with the Office of Protection from Research Risks/National Institutes of Health (OPRR/NIH). A major part of that Assurance involves the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) which ensures compliance with the Assurance, the policies of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and all other federal, state and local regulations concerning care, treatment and use of animals. Activities, whether teaching, research, production or display of animals, and whether the activity is funded or not, must be approved in advance by the committee. The use of animals for any purpose that is not approved in advance by the IACUC may involve severe penalties for non-compliance with institutional policy and could jeopardize the Auburn's Animal Welfare Assurance filed with the OPRR and the NIH. Information may be obtained from the Director of Animal Resources, (334) 844-5667.

Degrees offered A - B

Degrees offered C - D

Degrees offered E - L

Degrees offered M - P

Degrees offered R - Z

Graduate Minor Degrees

Masters Degree Program

Doctoral Degrees

Specialist in Education Degree


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