Admission Policies

School of Graduate Studies

Applying to a graduate program can be confusing. We've taken out the mystery and provided all the admissions policies in one place.

Here you will find information about what you need for admission to the School of Graduate Studies program, admission to a specific department, degree requirements, test requirements and much more.

Please contact the School of Graduate Studies for information on obtaining an additional major or degree by calling 507.535.3980 or

You can also contact the School of Graduate Studies by sending mail to:

School of Graduate Studies
Winona State University
PO Box 5838
Winona, MN 55987

Before applying, you must first meet admission standards as set by Winona State. Application deadlines published in the catalog and class schedule must be followed in order to allow complete processing prior to registration.

To apply:

  1. Complete the online Application for Admission to School of Graduate Studies. A one-time nonrefundable graduate study application fee of $20 is required.
  2. Request one official transcript from each undergraduate and graduate college or university attended. All transcripts must be submitted directly by each institution to the School of Graduate Studies Office. Electronic transcripts are preferred.  Send them to Transcripts must show that the Bachelor’s or Master’s degree was received from an institution accredited by an appropriate national accrediting body, a regional accrediting agency or by the reporting state agency of the state in which the college or university is located. Official transcripts will not need to be submitted for coursework taken at one of the Minnesota State schools since the School of Graduate Studies has access to those transcripts.

Coursework must begin within two (2) years after admission to a graduate degree program or you must reapply and provide one copy of each official transcript.

After admission to WSU School of Graduate Studies, completed applications from students who have the minimum cumulative GPA required from their baccalaureate degree granting institution for their selected program will be forwarded to the appropriate department for admission review and recommendation for admission into a degree program. 

Check the departmental sections of the catalog to determine additional criteria such as a higher GPA, test scores, references, etc.

Students with a cumulative grade point average lower than required by their graduate department from their baccalaureate degree granting institution may be granted provisional status from the School of Graduate Studies Office.

Students admitted on a provisional basis may be required to achieve at least a 3.00 GPA in their first 12 semester hours of 600-level course work before being permitted to apply for a graduate degree program. In addition, provisionally admitted students will be required to satisfy any course work deficiencies or additional admission criteria indicated by the department/program to which the student is applying.

Upon completion of the 12 semester hours and/or other requirements, the student must formally apply for admission to a degree program by contacting the Office of School of Graduate Studies at 507.535.3980.

Following receipt of the departmental recommendation, the Office of School of Graduate Studies will notify the student of the action taken on the application.

Students unable to satisfy departmental requirements will be allowed to continue to enroll in graduate level course work as a Graduate Non-Degree Seeking Student. 

Before you have completed 16 graduate semester credits with a GPA of at least 3.0, you must consult with your advisor and submit an Application for Admission to Candidacy Form to the Office of School of Graduate Studies.

Graduate students who do not have at least a 3.0 GPA will not be allowed to make further progress in their program until the GPA is improved.

To improve your GPA, you may retake courses for which they received a grade below B. However, below B grade courses may be retaken only once. Any courses taken beyond 16 credits will not apply to the degree program unless the Dean of School of Graduate Studies approves a petition for waiver of the 16-credit requirement.

The Application for Admission to Candidacy Form must include a detailed proposed program of completed and needed coursework for degree completion, must indicate a thesis plan or other capstone writing experience, and must include any courses/credits accepted in transfer toward the degree program (one official copy of transcripts for transfer credit must be on file in the School of Graduate Studies Office.)

The form must be approved the advisor, the chairperson/program director of the major department, and the Dean of School of Graduate Studies.

Any proposed changes to the approved candidacy/program must be requested in advance on the Supplement to the Application for Admission to Candidacy and be approved by the advisor, the department chairperson/program director and the Dean of School of Graduate Studies.

For degree requirements, please see the Department of Graduate Nursing website.

The following requirements must be met by all master of science and master of arts students:

  1. The student must meet all academic prerequisites and requirements.
  2. The student must complete at least 30 semester hours (WSU and transfer credits) with a minimum grade point average of 3.0. No course will be counted if the grade is below C. These are minimum standards; departments may require higher standards and additional credits. At least fifty percent of the credits required for the master’s degree must be in courses numbered at the 600 level or above.
  3. All degree candidates must pass a final comprehensive examination to be prepared by the major department. A Notification of Intent to Take the Comprehensive Exam form must be received in the Office of School of Graduate Studies by midterm day of the semester preceding the semester the exam will be taken. Students must have completed all coursework or be enrolled in their last course(s) to be eligible for the comprehensive examination. Students who choose the thesis option may take the examination before enrolling in the thesis course.
  4. Each candidate in a thesis option must pass a final oral examination by a committee of three graduate faculty members at least two weeks before graduation. The advisor will be the chairperson of this committee. Candidates for the MS degree without thesis may also be required by their major department to pass a final oral examination.
  5. If the student has elected a plan that requires a thesis, the thesis must be completed and approved by the advisor no later than two weeks prior to graduation. Unbound copies of the thesis must be made available to the oral examination committee. After this committee has approved the thesis, three bound copies must be submitted to the Office of School of Graduate Studies for distribution. A bindery sign-off form must be received by the School of Graduate Studies Office before a degree can be granted.
  6. Each candidate must submit to the Office of School of Graduate Studies a statement signed by the advisor or by the chairperson/program director of the major department certifying that the student has completed all departmental requirements for the master’s degree at least ten days prior to the last day of the semester.
The requirements listed above are general, all-university regulations. Students should consult their advisors to determine whether there are additional departmental requirements.
Refer to department policies for prerequisites required for admission to the specific graduate degree program.
All graduate degree programs must contain at least three (3) credits of research methodology, statistics or the equivalent. All programs must also contain a capstone writing experience such as a thesis, professional paper, written report of a project, written review of a simulation or portfolio. The selected experience must be indicated on the Application for Candidacy/Program Form and the final product(s) must be submitted to the Department responsible for maintaining the materials.

The Specialist Degree (EdS) is an advanced terminal degree. This degree recognizes the special requirements for school administrative licensure in Minnesota and gives it an academic/university awarded option called the Education Specialist degree.

Licensure requirements are set by the Board of School Administrators (BOSA) and accepted by the Minnesota Legislature. Licensure requirements include: 30 post-master's credits, 320 hours of licensure-specific internship and documented experience in 84 core competencies plus 15 competencies for the K-12 Principal license and 10 competencies for the Superintendent license. 

The EdS degree is awarded by the University (WSU) and requires the same course work as licensure with the additional scholarly experience of doing and writing about research. The product of this research, called a field study, is a formal research paper, in rigor about half way between a master's thesis and a doctoral dissertation.

For degree requirements, see the Leadership Education Department website.

Students seeking the MS, MA, EdS or DNP (Doctor of Nursing Practice) degrees may be required to take the Graduate Record Examination (GRE). Refer to the department policies for those situations. Information concerning these tests may be obtained from the Office of School of Graduate Studies.