Graduate Non-Degree (GND)

About GND

Graduate non-degree (GND) students are admitted to the university but not to a specific degree-granting graduate program. This permits access to enrollment in graduate-level courses without prior acceptance into an MS or PhD degree program. As its name implies, GND students cannot earn a degree in this status.

Originally used by the university to allow access to graduate-level courses to maintain certification in certain professions, GND status also permits flexibility for prospective graduate students. GND status allows students to "test drive" graduate level courses to see if the rigor of graduate course work is a good fit. Likewise, students who simply have an interest in continued learning, and are not interested in completing a degree, may take graduate courses in GND status. As it is often used by our program, it permits students with a sub-3.0 undergraduate GPA to prove their ability to succeed in graduate study. 

Apply to enter GND status

Apply for GND status
Non-degree study is maintained by the Office of Graduate and Professional Admissions and is not overseen by the Welding Engineering or Materials Science and Engineering graduate programs.

Important limitations

Students in the GND program should be aware of its limitations.

No degree 
As its name implies, GND students cannot earn a degree in this status. Students should not think of this path as a "backdoor" into earning the credits required for an MS or PhD degree. No degree will be granted to a GND student who has completed degree requirements but was never officially admitted into an MS or PhD degree track.

No more than ten (10) credits 
If a GND student is later admitted to a graduate degree program, no more than ten credit hours of semester graduate credit accumulated while in this non-degree classification may be counted toward the graduate degree.

[Ref. Graduate School Handbook Sec 2.4 "Graduate Non-Degree"]

Students in the GND program may only transfer TEN graded grad credits with them from GND into their MS or PhD program. 

Limited advising and communication
The GND program is overseen by the Office of Admissions, not the MSE or WE graduate programs. Admissions can provide only cursory instruction and oversight; enrollment procedures, fee payment deadlines, and other requirements are the responsibility of the student. Also, Admissions cannot advise on which course would be best for the student.

Helpful resources:

Apply twice--GND + MS/PhD
A student must apply to the GND program. This is a simple process in which the student completes an online application (selecting GND), pays the application fee, and provides transcripts proving completion of a Bachelor's degree (see link above).

To enter a degree granting track, the student must apply online again selecting the program and degree sought. Along with the application, fee, and transcript(s), the applicant must supply three letters of reference, a Statement of Purpose, resume, and test scores (as required). For general application instructions for our graduate degree programs see "Applying to MSE-WE Graduate Programs".

Must transfer GND credit
If admitted to a degree-granting track, the student must petition the Graduate School to transfer up to ten GND credits into the degree track. In other words, the Graduate School does not assume that the credits should be moved and must be instructed to do so.

To petition the Graduate School to transfer credits, log in to and follow the Transfer of Graduate Credit process (view PDF instructions).



Please contact Mark Cooper for policy questions concerning how MSE & WE handle GND credits.

Please contact the Office of Admissions for questions about how to apply and enroll.

Taking undergrad courses

The GND program is designed for students who already hold a Bachelor's and/or Master's degree in a relevant field. For students who do not hold a BS or MS, but are interested in taking individual undergrad courses, please consider OSU's Extended Education program.