Apply as a Graduate Special (non-degree seeking) student


What is graduate special status?


The graduate special classification is for students who have earned a bachelor's degree and wish to take graduate courses without enrolling in a graduate program leading to an advanced degree (Master's or Ph.D.). These students are usually referred to as grad specials or non-degree seeking students. Applicants who do not currently meet the requirements for admission to regular graduate standing may also apply for graduate special status. However, admission to graduate special status does not constitute admission to graduate standing in the graduate school. All non-degree students are governed by University regulations, including academic warning and probation, and are encouraged to seek official admission at the earliest possible date.

Graduate special students must take a minimum of 1 credit per semester to maintain an active account with the University. If the student does not register for a minimum of 1 credit for the following semester, the account is closed, and the student must submit a new application and application fee in order to take a class.


Why apply as a graduate special?

There are several excellent reasons to apply for graduate special status.

  • The most common reason is to address curricular insufficiencies that prevent students from meeting the qualifications to enter a graduate degree program. Completing courses can help you become more qualified for your desired program, although graduate special status does not guarantee your acceptance.
  • Students intending to apply to medical school, dental school or other professional schools may also wish to enroll as grad specials to increase their breadth of knowledge, contacts with research-active faculty and the overall competitiveness of their applications.
  • Some participants may be interested in advanced degree coursework to help support career qualifications, personal interests or to help decide whether a specific field is right for them.

What classes are available to grad special students?

Most graduate courses are open to non-degree students. Please check with the department offering the course for further information.


I live internationally. Can I apply for graduate special status?

International students (on F-1 or J-1 status) are not eligible for graduate special status unless they have completed a program at the University of Nevada, Reno and will start another one at the next term. Please talk to an advisor at the Office of International Students and Scholars for more information.


What is the cost?

All students are automatically considered out-of-state residents for tuition and fee purposes upon their admission to University of Nevada, Reno. Students can declare in-state residency by providing required documentations under the appropriate category within the Nevada residency application. Resident status for University of Nevada, Reno graduates will transfer automatically.


I was a graduate special, but now I'd like to officially enroll in a program. Can I transfer my credits?

Although there is no limit to the number of credits that may be earned as a non-degree student, students may apply 12 graduate special credits toward a degree program. Any application of credits in excess of 12 credits requires an exception to policy to be requested by your graduate program director.

To apply to a graduate program:

  1. Submit your application to the Graduate School.
  2. Once you have been accepted into a graduate program, submit the graduate credit transfer evaluation request form.

Graduate Credit Transfer Evaluation Request Form


Can I apply for financial aid as a grad special?

Graduate Special students are not eligible for financial aid, including student loans.


I would like to complete a graduate certificate. Is that a graduate special status?

Graduate certificate programs are recognized programs within the Graduate School. Students participating in graduate certificates must apply to the program through the Graduate School.

Apply as a graduate special student

Use the following steps to submit an application for admission as a graduate special student.

Need help or more information? Call us at (775) 784-6869 or email