Graduate Student Handbook

Graduate Programs in Leadership in Diversity & Inclusion

Unit Directory

Alesia Woszidlo MA in Leadership and Diversity Director of Graduate Studies
  • Director for the Institute for Leadership Studies
  • Director of Graduate Studies in Leadership in Diversity and Inclusion
  • Associate Professor, Communication Studies

Key Offices at KU

Your unit’s Director of Graduate Studies or Graduate Program Coordinator is your first stop for any questions related to graduate study or requirements.  If you would like to research an issue in advance of speaking with your department or if you still have questions, the following offices can provide assistance: 

College Office of Graduate Affairs (COGA) 

COGA oversees graduate affairs and administers University policy for programs within the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.  The COGA website contains comprehensive information on requirements and processes pertaining to graduate education at KU.  Most common questions can be answered with the information provided there, including questions regarding enrollment changes or forms, University policies regarding exams and committee requirements, and University graduation requirements. The College of Liberal Arts & Sciences' Master’s Hooding Ceremony is coordinated by COGA.   

COGA reviews all student petitions of University and College policy, issuing decisions on behalf of the College or referring as required to a faculty committee and/or the Office of Graduate Studies. The more common student petitions relate to Enrollment, Graduate Credit, Leave of Absence, and Time Limit Extensions.   

COGA is a resource if you have questions about petitions or graduation requirements that your department is unable to answer.  Refer to the COGA website for current staff contact information. 

Office of Graduate Studies  

Graduate Studies is the office of the Dean of Graduate Studies at KU.  The Executive Council of Graduate Studies sets policies and regulations governing graduate study and offers various programs for graduate students throughout the year.  While COGA should be your first stop for any questions your department cannot answer, you may be referred to Graduate Studies for certain matters, especially for questions about GTA/GRA/GA appointments and policies. The University's Doctoral Hooding Ceremony is coordinated by Graduate Studies. 

Graduate Admissions  

Contact Graduate Admissions (within the Office of Graduate Study) for questions regarding, KU Online Application for Graduate Study, the Slate application system, English proficiency requirements, and official transcripts. 

Office of the Registrar 

Contact the Office of the Registrar for questions related to enrollment (if the question cannot be resolved via the enrollment changes link provided above under COGA), tuition, campus fees, the Academic Calendar, and fee petitions. 

Financial Aid  

Contact Financial Aid for questions related to the disbursement of scholarships, fellowship awards, loans, and FAFSA. 

International Student Services (ISS)  

Contact ISS for questions related to international students, including enrollment requirements, international student insurance, obtaining a social security card, I-20 questions, and any issue related to student visas.  While other offices on campus such as the AEC, Human Resources, or the Registrar may also handle related matters, because the students’ legal status in the country may be affected, it is recommended that students contact ISS first.   

Center for Teaching Excellence (CTE)  

The Center for Teaching Excellence (CTE) is a University office dedicated to assisting instructors, including GTAs, to develop effective instructional techniques. The expert staff of CTE can introduce instructors to the pedagogical technology available at the University and help instructors develop new approaches to teaching. CTE specialists work with instructors individually, and also offer a diverse array of workshops and discussions. They also can guide instructors to useful scholarly literature on the subject of college teaching and learning. 

General Department Policies and Procedures


Application Materials & Procedures 

For information on admission to graduate programs at KU, see the Graduate Studies policy on Admission to Graduate Study

Applicants seeking admission to the master’s program must apply online.  A bachelor’s degree is required for admission.  

Applications are evaluated based on the following materials: 

  • A statement of purpose that demonstrates an interest in Leadership and/or Diversity and Inclusion studies and relevant experience and intellectual or professional goals 

  • Copies of official transcripts of all previous academic work 

    • Via mail

      Transcripts must be sent directly from your institution, in a sealed envelope, to:

      Graduate Admissions

      University of Kansas

      KU Visitor Center

      1502 Iowa St.

      Lawrence, KS 66045

    • Electronically

      If your institution offers a secure electronic transcript delivery service, you may have transcripts sent to
  • Three academic and/or professional letters of recommendation from people familiar with the applicant’s work 

  • A research-based writing sample 

Proof of English Proficiency 

The Office of Graduate Studies requires all applicants to demonstrate proof of English proficiency. See “Admissions” under the University Policies & Degree Requirements section of this document for more information regarding the University’s requirements for providing proof of English proficiency.  


Applications to the MA in Leadership in Diversity and Inclusion are due on the dates listed on our Graduate Admissions page.

Applications to the graduate certificate programs in Leadership Studies and Studies in Equity and Social Diversity in the U.S. are accepted on a rolling basis. 

Provisional Admission 

Student with GPAs below 3.0 or who have been out of school for an exceptional length of time may be required as a condition of their admission to take an additional course to ensure their academic preparation and success. 

To continue in the program, students admitted provisionally must meet with the Director of Graduate Studies at the start of the academic term, must comply with any requests for additional meetings or communications, and must earn at least a 3.0 GPA in the first semester of graduate coursework at KU. 

Admissions Contact Information 

If you have questions about the academic program or curriculum, contact the Director of Graduate Studies, Amy Leyerzapf. If you have questions about the application process or required materials, contact the Graduate Program Coordinator, Jess Wagner

General Guidelines 


See “Grading” under the University Policies & Degree Requirements section of this document for further information regarding University minimum grading requirements.  

Academic Integrity & Misconduct 

In the Institute for Leadership Studies, we consider academic integrity essential to our work, and we expect students to adhere to its principles in conducting research. This means that students acknowledge the sources they use in their academic work and cite them fully and correctly; not acknowledging a source constitutes plagiarism. Students should consult with faculty well before due dates if they are not sure how to handle a source. Academic integrity also means that work on examinations and assignments must be carried out by authorized means. Students are subject to sanctions by the University of Academic Misconduct if they violate these principles. Definitions are provided in the University Senate Rules and Regulations.  

Good Standing 

To be considered in “good standing” in any graduate program, the University requires graduate students to maintain a minimum GPA of 3.0 (or “B” average) and be making timely progress toward meeting their degree requirements. For additional information on good standing, as well as probation and dismissal procedures for those students who do not meet the requirements for good standing, see the University Policies & Degree Requirements section of this document.  

Grievance Procedures 

The Institute for Leadership Studies advises that graduate students make an attempt to resolve issues, especially matters concerning grades, directly with the instructor or party involved, or with the Director of Graduate Studies. If a grievance arises that cannot be resolved directly, or if the student does not feel comfortable attempting to resolve the issue with the Director of Graduate Studies, the student should then follow the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences’ official grievance procedure, which has been approved by the University and may be found at the following link: Grievance Procedure for the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences 

Information for Graduate Teaching Assistants (GTAs) 

The standard half-time (50% FTE) Graduate Teaching Assistantship (GTA) appointment entails an average of 20 hours of work per week. Stipends for the 2022-2023 academic year start at $17,750.00. Those holding an assistantship benefit from 100% tuition coverage and payment of up to 3 hours of campus fees. All applicants to the MA program in Leadership in Diversity and Inclusion, who indicate interest in teaching, will be considered for a GTA appointment. 

All offers of financial assistance are contingent on approval by the College and the University, and on the availability of funds from the state. The Memorandum of Agreement made between the University of Kansas and the Board of Regents with the American Federation of Teachers – Kansas (representing the Graduate Teaching Assistants) limits the duration of the GTA contract to a total of six semesters for master’s level students.  

Candidates for GTA appointments must be fluent in English. GTA applicants for whom English is not the native language must demonstrate English proficiency by providing test scores that demonstrate spoken English competency as outlined in the Kansas Board of Regents Policy on Spoken English Language Competency of Faculty and Graduate Teaching Assistants.   

Course assignments are made based on academic interest/research focus and previous experience and will be communicated to each GTA as soon as they are determined. Typical duties for GTAs may include, but are not limited to:   

  • Attending lectures 

  • Grading assignments 

  • Managing Canvas 

  • Leading a course as a sole instructor 

  • Leading discussion section(s) 

  • Preparing a syllabus or syllabus supplement 

  • Holding regular office hours 

  • Corresponding with students by email 

  • Proctoring in-class exams or makeups 

  • Meeting regularly with faculty supervisor and/or other GTAs for the course 

  • Co-teaching a course or discussion section 

  • Planning assignments 

  • Preparing lectures 

  • Delivering lectures 

  • Leading or assisting with field trips 

  • Moderating online discussions 

  • Managing interactive technology (e.g., Clicker questions in lecture, live-tweeting, etc.)  

  • Setting up classroom A/V tools 

  • Tracking attendance 

  • Leading review sessions 

GTA work requirements for each fall and spring semester end on the deadline for turning in course grades. GTAs must return all student work, including assignments and exams, to the department within 30 days of the deadline. The department will store all student work for one calendar year after grades are assigned.  



Independent Study and Directed Readings Policy

Independent Study and Directed Readings courses can provide students with an opportunity to explore a topic of interest in more detail, work with a faculty member whose scholarly focus matches their unique interest, or round out an area of emphasis in their program of study.  However, these courses should be used selectively and intentionally as enrichment opportunities and not as a substitute for existing course offerings, a scheduling convenience, or in order to accelerate completion of a program of study.  All independent study or directed readings courses must be approved in advance by the Director of Graduate Studies and will require that the student produce documentation of a course contract listing instructor contact information, course objectives or outcomes, expectations, work products, and the date by which products are due.

Annual Evaluation 

The Leadership Studies Department engages in a process of annual evaluations for each graduate student in the program. These reviews are intended to give students helpful guidance as they progress through the program. The annual review is intended to provide a concise evaluation of students’ progress in the program from the viewpoint of the student and the primary advisor. The annual review focuses on student development in areas of progress to degree, research and scholarship, and professional development. 

The self-evaluation form will be due each year on March 1. Written feedback will be provided to each student by the end of the Spring semester. An optional meeting will be offered if the student wishes to discuss feedback in more detail. 

Degree Requirements

Master’s Degree Requirements 

Course Requirements  

Students must complete a minimum of 30 graduate-level credit hours in approved courses with Leadership and Diversity and Inclusion content.  

Core Seminar (3) 

LDST 705: Professionalization Seminar in Leadership in Diversity and Inclusion (3) 

Equity and Social Diversity in the U.S. (12) 

Four courses (3 credit hours each) totaling 12 graduate credit hours.  Courses are categorized into three pathways: 

  • U.S. Race and Ethnicity 
  • Women, Gender, and Sexuality 
  • U.S. Social Differences 

Students must develop a concentration in one pathway by taking at least 6 credit hours of coursework in any one of the four pathways.  

At least 1 course (3 credit hours) must be taken in a pathway other than the concentration.  

A current list of approved courses for each pathway is available on the Leadership in Diversity & Inclusion program website. The Diversity and Inclusion course list continues to grow and is updated regularly. Please contact the Director of Graduate Studies if you are unsure about whether a certain course will count for a specific pathway. 

Leadership Studies (12) 

4 courses (3 credit hours each) totaling 12 graduate credit hours: 

  • LDST 710: History and Theory of Leadership Studies (3) 
  • LDST 720: Leadership Ethics (3) 
  • LDST 730: Managing the Work of Leadership (3) 
  • LDST 740: Leadership and Power (3) 
Capstone (3) 
LDST 850: Capstone in Leadership in Diversity and Inclusion 

This course is required of all admitted students in the final semester of their degree program and provides students with the opportunity to integrate and synthesize the interdisciplinary knowledge they have gained. 

In order to enroll in LDST 850, you must first complete the LDST 850 Preparatory Workshop Canvas course. After completing the course, you may request a permission number to enroll in LDST 850 from the Graduate Program Coordinator. 

Supplemental Coursework 

Students will take a minimum of six graduate credit hours to supplement the Leadership and Diversity and Inclusion curricula from the following offerings: 

LDST 700: Introduction to Graduate Studies in Leadership in Diversity and Inclusion 

This course will be required for all provisionally admitted students and will be offered as an optional course to all admitted students at the beginning of their degree program.  It will focus on supporting students’ successful transition to graduate study for those who require additional preparation or wish to augment or refresh their academic skills. 

LDST 705: Professionalization Seminar in Leadership in Diversity and Inclusion 

This course will be required of all admitted students within the first year of their degree program and will focus on developing students’ capacity to work as a professional both during the program of study and following graduation.  It will serve as an enculturation to the Leadership Studies and Diversity and Inclusion disciplines. 

LDST 850: Capstone in Leadership in Diversity and Inclusion 

This course will be required of all admitted students in the final semester of their degree program and will provide students with the opportunity to integrate and synthesize the interdisciplinary knowledge they have gained in their graduate learning, combining self-assessment and reflection with a guided research paper, equivalent project, or supervised practical application to create a final portfolio. Students will work closely with their faculty committee to design an experience that makes relevant connections across disciplines represented within the degree program and applies this knowledge to a new setting or complex problem. 

Graduate Certificate in Leadership Studies Requirements 

The Graduate Certificate in Leadership Studies requires completion of 12 hours of coursework as outlined below. 

LDST 710: History & Theory of Leadership Studies (3 credit hours) 

Theoretical foundations in leadership, organizational decision making, and communication will enhance students' development of expertise in assessing organizational and systems issues, and facilitating unit-, organization-, and system-wide improvements. Traditional approaches to leadership, organizing and communicating are contrasted with emerging approaches that promote sensitivity to diverse organizational cultures, systems, and populations. Through examination of theoretical perspectives, the student will develop an ability to integrate the contributions of different points of view and ways of thinking crucial to effectively assess, design and lead high performing organizations in a dynamic world. Contexts discussed will include for-profit, not-for-profit, healthcare, community, and military organizations. 

LDST 720: Leadership Ethics (3 credit hours) 

This course establishes a theoretical groundwork with readings and discussions that will familiarize students with five perspectives on ethical decision making and behavior as well as the essential competencies of leadership. For each of those perspectives, students will engage in reflections, collaborative case studies, and debates based on a case in point approach as well as a single-authored analysis of a selected leadership case. 

LDST 730: Managing the Work of Leadership (3 credit hours) 

Through webinars and case in point pedagogy, this course prepares students to manage the day to day communicative and executive functions necessary for doing the work of leadership. Topics will include crisis management, stakeholder engagement, speech writing, fundraising, image management, and professionalization. 

LDST 740: Leadership & Power (3 credit hours) 

Leadership and power often are confused and this misunderstanding can lead to members of oppressed groups dismissing their own leadership potential. Through reading, reflective writing, and engaged discussion, this course will help students understand power and leadership as distinct concepts that occasionally intersect. Within their various systems, people continuously perceive, encounter, and work within different power dynamics. Thus students will learn about historical and culturally diverse understandings of power, the ethical responsibilities of power, the dangers of misuse of power, and doing the work of leadership with (and without) power. 

Graduate Certificate in Studies in Equity and Social Diversity in the U.S. Requirements  

Graduate certificate coursework focuses on the experiences of U.S. racial/ethnic minorities (e.g. African American/Black, Native American/Alaskan Native, Native Hawaiian/Other Pacific Islander, Latinx) and on U.S. marginalized populations (e.g. gender, gender expression, sexuality, disabilities). Students must take a total of 12 graduate credit hours of coursework. Courses for this certificate are categorized into three pathways. 

  • Pathway 1: US Race and Ethnicity 
  • Pathway 2: Women, Gender and Sexuality 
  • Pathway 3: US Social Differences 

Students must develop a plan of study in consultation with and approved by a faculty advisor. This plan of study must include a concentration consisting of at least 6 credit hours of coursework in one of the three pathways. At least one course (3 credit hours) must be taken in a pathway other than the concentration. At least two courses (6 credit hours) must be taken at the 700 level or above. 

A current list of approved courses for each pathway can be found here. 

University Policies & Degree Requirements

This section contains information on requirements and policies of the Office of Graduate Studies and the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences, both hereafter referred to as “the University”. It is not a complete list of all policies pertaining to graduate students. Only those policies that most commonly affect graduate students are included.   

Policies are described in general terms and are intended to help students understand what is expected. They do not reflect the exact language of the official policy and should not be confused with official policy. Specific information and restrictions as well as links to relevant forms may be accessed by clicking on the policy headings. Links to the official policies in the KU policy library are found at the bottom of each policy description. Students are accountable to and should familiarize themselves with the University's official policies.   


General Policies 

The following University policies apply to ALL graduate students regardless of degree, program, or department.  These are minimum general requirements. Your department or program may have more restrictive policies in any of these areas.   



Degree or non-degree seeking applicants must have a bachelor’s degree (as evidence by an official transcript from the institution the degree was obtained).   


Related Policies and Forms: 


English Proficiency Requirements 

The University requires all applicants, international or domestic, to demonstrate English proficiency for admission to any graduate program at KU. There are several ways to prove English proficiency: 


  • Declaration of native speaker status on the online application for graduate study. 

  • Graduation with a baccalaureate degree (or higher) earned in residence from a regionally accredited English-medium U.S. college or university or from a foreign university which maintains substantially equivalent bachelor's, master's, or doctoral degree requirements 

  • Degrees earned online may not be used to demonstrate English proficiency. 

  • When a foreign university conducts all instruction in English, degree demonstrates Full Proficiency: applicants are not required to complete AEC testing. 

  • When a foreign institution certifies that a majority of instruction, but not all, was conducted in English, the degree demonstrates Admission Proficiency and applicants are required to complete AEC testing. 

  • Employment as an officer in the U.S. military with documentation of selection or promotion to the rank of Major or higher (or the equivalent U.S. Navy or Coast Guard rank) 

  • Demonstrates Full Proficiency: applicants are not required to complete AEC testing. 

  • Official scores from an English proficiency standardized test (e.g. TOEFL, IELTS-Academic, or PTE), sent by the testing agency to the University of Kansas. Official scores must be less than two years old at the time that Graduate Admissions processes the application. 

  • Scores demonstrate Admission, Proficiency, or Full Proficiency in accordance with the established criteria

  • Satisfactory completion of AEC coursework 

  • Demonstrates Admission Proficiency or Full Proficiency in accordance with the established criteria

Applicants that do not meet the minimum scores should review the English Proficiency Chart, provided via the link above, for information about petition processes based on exceptional circumstances  

Applicants should submit their scores directly to KU via an e-delivery service or via mail if e-service isn’t available. 

Via mail:

Graduate Admissions

University of Kansas

KU Visitor Center

1502 Iowa St.

Lawrence, KS 66045

Any applicable GRE or TOEFL test scores should be sent by ETS to KU's institution code 6871.

Related Policies and Forms: 



For graduate students in the College, advising on enrollment and course selection take place at the department level.  While units within the College may define full-time enrollment more stringently, the University defines it as follows: 


Fall and Spring semesters: 

  • Enrollment in 9 credit hours; 

  • Enrollment in 6 credit hours plus a GTA, GRA, or GA appointment, regardless of percentage of appointment; 

  • Enrollment in 6 credit hours for graduate students using the Montgomery GI Bill – Active Duty (MGIB-AD) and Post-9/11 GI Bill – Active Duty; 

  • Doctoral candidates enrolled in dissertation hour(s). *See Doctoral post-comprehensive enrollment. 


Summer sessions: 

  • Enrollment in 6 credit hours; 

  • Enrollment in 3 credit hours plus a GTA, GRA, or GA appointment, regardless of percentage of appointment; 

  • Enrollment in 3 credit hours for graduate students using the Montgomery GI Bill – Active Duty (MGIB-AD) and Post-9/11 GI Bill – Active Duty; 

  • Doctoral candidates enrolled in dissertation hour(s). 


Graduate students are not normally permitted to enroll for more than 16 hours a semester or more than 8 hours in summer session. 

While these are KU’s definitions of full-time enrollment, other institutions may have different definitions. Be sure to consult with your financial aid and/or health insurance providers before making enrollment decisions.   

Student not enrolled by 11:59pm the day before the first day of classes will be assessed a late enrollment fee.  The University Registrar then deactivates the KU ID of any not enrolled by the last Friday in October (for Fall) or last Friday in April (for Spring). Students who wish to enroll after that must pay a fee to be reactivated. 

Students who wish to leave their graduate program should inform the department of such plans in writing so that a Voluntary Withdrawal form may be submitted on their behalf.  

Deadlines for adding, changing, dropping, or withdrawing from courses entirely, as well any fines associated with the change, are set by the University.  Deadlines vary from year to year.  Students should carefully review the current Academic Calendar

The College Office of Graduate Affairs’ (COGA) website has a very useful Enrollment Changes Guide, which provides comprehensive guidance on the forms and endorsements required for different enrollment situations, including late enrollment changes after the published deadlines.   

You may also wish to consult the Registrar's page on Effects of Dropping or Withdrawing on your Transcript

Related Policies: 


Graduate Credit (Including Transfer Credit) 

The Office of Graduate Studies policy on Graduate Credit defines KU’s conditions for the following: 

  • Definition of graduate credit for the purposes of a course “counting” towards a graduate degree or graduate certificate at KU; 

  • Transfer of graduate credit to KU from an outside institution; 

  • Reduction in the required number of graduate hours for Master’s students; 

  • Counting credit hours taken as non-degree seeking student towards a later graduate degree at KU; 

  • Counting credit hours taken as a certificate seeking student toward another graduate degree. 


Transfer Credit 

The transfer credit option allows master’s students to add graduate-level coursework completed at another institution to their KU transcript to count toward their KU degree. Upper level coursework taken as an undergraduate, even courses numbered at the graduate level, is not eligible for transfer in any case.  Additional restrictions apply to what non-KU graduate courses and the number of credit hours that can be counted toward a KU master’s degree, so students should carefully review the information provided in the link above and the related policies below, as well as consulting with their DGS.  In all cases, transfer credit must first be approved at the department or program level.  To begin the transfer process, students should consult with their DGS to submit the required transfer materials.   These include a transcript reflecting the courses to be transferred and descriptions and/or syllabi for the courses in question.  

No transfer of credits is allowed for the Ph.D. In circumstances where students enter the Ph.D. program with an M.A. from another intuition or relevant graduate coursework, it may be possible for students to request a reduction in the number of hours required for the Ph.D.  Students should consult with their DGS about their enrollment plan. 

Reduced Credit Hour Degree 

KU policy defines 30 hours as the minimum for master's degrees.  Departments may petition for a reduced hour degree Master's degree for individual students in cases where they may provide evidence that the student entered the program especially well-prepared to complete a graduate-level degree and the student is able to maintain a superior grade point average.  A reduction in hours is distinct from a transfer of credit and is reserved for those students in that they may in some cases be based on coursework that was already used to fulfill requirements towards a completed degree, some non-coursework (e.g. internships, study abroad), and there are no modifications on the transcript. 

Restrictions apply to the number of credit hours that can be reduced for a master’s degree, so students should carefully review the information provided in the link above and the related policies below. 

In all cases, a reduction in hours must first be approved at the department or program level, so to begin the process for approval, students should consult with their DGS. Students must also provide documentation of the coursework or experience being used to justify the reduced hours (e.g. transcripts, program descriptions). 

Because there is no minimum number of required hours for the Ph.D., reduction of required hours based on prior degrees or experience is determined solely at the program level.  Doctoral students should consult with their DGS about their enrollment plan. 

Count Toward Degree 

The Count Toward Degree form is an Office of the Registrar Form that allows graduate credit hours taken at KU as a non-degree seeking student to count towards a later degree at KU. 

As with transfer credit and reduced hour degrees, restrictions apply, so students should carefully review the information in the link above and the related policies below and consult with their DGS. 

Related Policies: 


Credit/No Credit 

The University supports and encourages interdisciplinary study, which may include graduate students enrolling in coursework at the graduate level that is outside of their primary discipline.  The Credit/No Credit (CR/NC) is an option for graduate students who are taking a course that is not required for their degree or certificate and who do not wish to have the course grade reflected in their overall graduate GPA.  Rather than a grade appearing on the transcript, the student receives a designation of CR or NC, which does not factor in the GPA.  

No course graded CR/NC will count toward the satisfaction of any graduate degree or certificate requirement. This includes, but is not limited to, courses taken to fulfill the Research Skills and Responsible Scholarship requirement for doctoral students.   

Students make the CR/NC election via the Registrar’s CR/NC online request form. Elections and changes to elections can only be made during the specific CR/NC period.  For regular semester courses, this period begins after the last day to add a class and extends for approximately two weeks. Exact dates may be found on the current KU Academic Calendar. Please keep in mind, short courses may have alternate dates. 

The student should consult with their own program advisor about the appropriateness of the course prior to enrolling; however, in cases where CR/NC is elected, the course instructor is not informed of the election unless the student chooses to share this information. 

Additional restrictions apply.  Students should carefully review the information in the link above. 

Related Policies and Forms: 


Probation & Dismissal 

Probation is an academic status that can be assigned to a graduate student that is not making satisfactory progress toward completing their degree. The department initiates the probation process and will inform the student of why they are not making satisfactory progress, what they must do to return to good standing, and the deadline for doing so. 

Students are most commonly placed on probation due to their graduate cumulative GPA dropping below a B average (3.0 on a 4.0 scale).  In these cases, probation occurs automatically and is reflected on the student’s record for the semester following the semester in which the student’s GPA drops below 3.0.  If the student’s cumulative GPA is raised to 3.0 by the end of the probationary semester, the student will be automatically returned to good academic standing.  

Students may also be placed on probation by their departments for other reasons that constituting a failure to make satisfactory progress towards degree. These may include but are not limited to; failure to make adequate progress on a thesis or dissertation, unacceptable academic performance on program components outside of coursework (e.g., exams), an unsatisfactory result in their department’s annual evaluation, or as a result of going beyond their official time to degree. Students should carefully review the Good Academic Standing policy for graduate students at KU for more information on what constitutes making satisfactory academic progress. 

Individual programs may also have additional measures of progress. Students should also consult the Annual Review section of their department graduate handbook and with their program advisor for more information. 

If a student is unable to raise their cumulative GPA or otherwise meet departmental expectations for adequate academic progress by the end of the probationary period, the department will reconsider their continuation in the program, in most cases will recommend the student for dismissal, or that the student voluntarily withdraw from the program.  Once dismissed, a student is no longer able to be enrolled in coursework and cannot complete their degree.  Students dismissed from any graduate program may not be admitted to any other graduate program at the University of Kansas.  

A student on probation or facing dismissal should discuss their status with their advisor.  

Related Policies: 



The Office of Graduate Studies' Grading policy governs requirements for the grading of graduate students above those described in Article II of the University Senate Rules and Regulations.  Additionally, individual schools, departments, or programs may have grading policies that are more stringent than those of Graduate Studies.  Students should review the College-specific grading information and consult their advisor and the departmental section of this handbook for additional information that may affect them. 

At minimum, for all graduate students at KU, at least a B average is required on course work counted toward any of the master's degrees at KU, and only courses graded A, B, or C (excluding C-) may be counted.  Course work counted toward a doctorate, including that for a master's degree if obtained at KU, should average better than a B. 

Additional information pertaining to graduate grading can be found on COGA's pages for Retroactive Withdrawal, Incomplete Grades, and Graduate GPA.  The Registrar’s Office’s also offers information on the Credit/No Credit option. 

Related Policies: 


Time Limits  

The University expects that master’s degree should typically be completed in two (2) years of full-time study. 

Students who anticipate exceeding these targets should review the information in the link above and in the policies below, as well as consult with their program advisor to create a timeline for degree completion. 

Related Policies and Forms: 


Leave of Absence 

In exceptional circumstances (e.g., cases of illness, emergency, financial hardship, military leave, to pursue family responsibilities, or to pursue full-time activities related to long-range professional goals) it may be necessary for graduate students to take a break from their program temporarily, without having to withdraw entirely from the program. An approved leave of absence allows a student to take a temporary break from enrolling in graduate coursework while remaining in good standing with the University and the department and while “stopping the clock” on their time to degree.  

Requesting a Leave of Absence is done via a University petition. University petitions must first be approved and supported at the program level, so students wishing to initiate the petition process should first consult with their Director of Graduate Studies and review their department’s internal petition procedures. Units or the Director of Graduate Study may request documentation to support the student’s need for a leave of absence; however, the only document that the College requires for the petition is the Leave of Absence form, linked below. 

Students on Leave of Absence are automatically reactivated after their leave is over and are eligible to enroll for their intended semester back during the normal enrollment periods. See the KU Academic Calendar for the exact dates that enrollment begins. 

If at any time plans change and a student wishes to return and enroll before leave was supposed to end they may contact their department to be reactivated early. 

Related Policies and Forms: 


Oral Exams 

All graduate students must complete one or more exams as part of their degree requirements.  In addition to department or program guidelines, the University has several policies pertaining to the following exams: 

  • Master's Exam for Master's degree  

Before a student is allowed to sit for any of these three exams, pre-approval from the College is required in advance of the exam date. The College verifies that the student has fulfilled University requirements.  The full list of these requirements may be found via the link in the heading above.  Students should work with their departments well in advance of their planned exam date, to schedule their exams in a timely fashion and to ensure that all University policies relating to oral exams are being followed.   

In many cases, programs may have additional exams, such as a written pre-qualifying exam.   Exam pre-approval by the College applies ONLY to the oral portions of the three exams listed above. 


The following are University policies pertaining to these oral exams: 

Oral Exam Committee Composition 

For all oral exams, the committee members must be appointed members of the Graduate Faculty of KU. In addition, a majority of committee members serving on a graduate student oral examination committee must be tenured/tenure-track faculty holding regular graduate faculty. 

Some additional restrictions apply. Master’s students should carefully review the University policies pertaining to exams, as well as consult with their Director of Graduate Studies when forming an exam committee. 


Oral Exam Attendance 

The Oral Exam Attendance policy describes rules for physical and remote or virtual attendance (e.g. Skype, Zoom, or phone) at oral exams. 

All members of the exam committee must participate in graduate student oral examinations, which include the master’s final oral exam or capstone defense. One or more members, as well as the student, may participate via video-conferencing technology. 

Master’s students should carefully review the policies below, as well as consult with their Director of Graduate Studies in the formation of an oral exam committee.  

Related Policies and Forms: 


Graduate Certificate Requirements 

The University offers a variety of Approved Graduate Certificate Programs to encourage current graduate students to pursue interdisciplinary study.  Certificate programs also provide an option for a coherent course of advanced study for those not ready to commit to a full degree program. There are certain restrictions on the timing of admissions to a Graduate Certificate program and the granting of credit for courses completed. Students whose interests or career goals may be served by a Graduate Certificate should familiarize themselves with the University’s policies relating to Certificate programs (found below) early in their graduate career, in addition to individual certificate program requirements.  

Related Policies and Forms: 


Graduation Requirements  

In addition to all program requirements, students planning to graduate must complete all University graduation requirements prior to the published Graduation Deadline in a given semester.  Students should consult the current Academic Calendar for the published Graduation Deadline, which varies by semester.   

COGA's graduation checklists contain a comprehensive list of all University requirements for graduation and should be used by every graduating master's student in the College: 


Students graduating with a PhD or a thesis option master's degree will submit documents and track the completion of their graduation requirements via their "My Graduation Checklist" Canvas site. This site will be your online hub for all instructions and resources related to degree completion and graduation. 

Your My Graduation Checklist Canvas site will be activated at one of these times, whichever comes first: 

  • On the 20th day of classes for students who have submitted an Application for Graduation via Enroll & Pay for that semester. 

  • When your department submits your exam date and information for pre-approval 

Students who have concerns or questions about fulfillment of graduation requirements may arrange for a Graduation Appointment with the College Office of Graduate Affairs (COGA) following the defense or final exam and in advance of the applicable Application for Graduation deadline. 


Graduate Studies Funding Opportunities  

The Office of Graduate Studies offers funding opportunities in several different categories. Students interested in applying should direct inquiries to the department’s Director of Graduate Studies or to the Office of Graduate Studies. For the most up-to-date information on funding opportunities, follow the link above. 


Appendix A: Approved Pathway Courses

Appendix B: MA Program Requirements Tracker



LDST 700 *only if required as a condition of admission 


LDST 705 


LDST 850 


Leadership Studies 


LDST 710 (theory) 


LDST 720 (ethics) 


LDST 730 (skills)  


LDST 740 


Equity & Social Diversity 






Concentration or Elective