Minimum admission requirements – one step at a time

When comparing master’s degree programs in a given discipline, you’ll see that different institutions have different undergraduate degree and prerequisite coursework requirements (and even within institutions like Colorado State, those requirements can vary even from degree to degree). Figuring out how to get those requirements completed can be confusing.

So let’s break it down.

Check ListA very specific undergraduate degree might be required of applicants to even be considered for admission (for example, CSU’s online M.E. in Civil Engineering requires that you have a B.S. in Engineering, and the Master of Music in Music Therapy requires that you have a bachelor’s degree in Music Therapy). If you don’t have that undergraduate degree, and the school is adamant that applicants must – “no exceptions” is pretty self-explanatory – you will need to consider whether it is worthwhile to get a second bachelor’s degree in the discipline required.

Other master’s degrees have more flexibility in the undergraduate degree required, but will list specific courses you must have completed before submitting your application (for example, to apply to CSU’s online M.E. in Biomedical Engineering, you do not need a B.S. in Engineering, but you do need Calculus 1-3, Ordinary Differential Equations, Physics 1 and 2, and a semester of Life Science). Some programs will provisionally accept students without those courses, with the “provisionally” removed after you’ve completed them; other times you will absolutely need to show evidence of having completed all those courses before applying. And sometimes departments will allow you to be “in progress” with one or two of those required courses (ie, enrolled for the course(s) at the time you submit an application). Make sure you are clear about exactly what your degree of choice requires of you before working through the application process.

Once you have identified the specific courses you need to complete before submitting an application, the next step is to successfully complete them! To move forward, you can:

  • Enroll at a local community college
  • Enroll for an online course at a Colorado institution – check out Colorado Community Colleges Online for options
  • Enroll in other institutions – several institutions I know of offer online courses in Calculus I-III (including University of North Dakota, University of Minnesota, Shorter University, University of Idaho and Indiana University East).

If you have any questions about whether or not the course(s) you’ve identified will meet the prerequisites required of applicants, be sure to consult with the academic advisor of your program of interest.


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