Make Earning Your Degree a Reality

Apply to Graduate School


Transform your future, go beyond what's expected.

Whether your goal is to update your professional skills, advance your career or embark on a second career, Lenoir-Rhyne offers a graduate program that is right for you.

With more than 20 master degree programs to choose from, flexible scheduling with evening and weekend classes and experienced faculty to provide the guidance you need to succeed – LR makes earning your master’s degree a reality.

Programs are offered across our three LR campus locations, including many that are fully online, allowing you to begin in any semester and complete the program at a pace that fits your busy schedule.

Apply - Spring 2022  Apply - Summer 2022  Apply - Fall 2022

Take the Next Step


The first step toward enrollment at Lenoir-Rhyne is to submit all components of the application.

After submitting all materials, the average turnaround time to receive an admission decision is 5-10 business days, unless you are considering a cohort-based program such as Dietetic Internship, Doctor of Nursing Practice or Occupational Therapy

Once admitted, the admission packet provides detailed instructions on the enrollment process, including how to reserve a space in our upcoming semester. Upon admission, the enrollment deposit secures your spot in the program and allows you to proceed with the next steps.

To be considered for financial aid, you must file the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

Prior to the start of the semester, LR provides additional information about orientation and registration, including courses to start your graduate program.

Please note: You are required to turn in immunization information to be eligible to register.

Priority Application Deadlines


  • Fall semester: August 1
  • Spring semester: December 1
  • Summer semester: May 1

LR accepts applications after these priority deadlines; however, we recommend applying by these dates for a seamless enrollment process.*

The following programs accept applicants during specific terms:

  • Master of Public Health and Master of Science in Nursing accepts applications for summer and fall terms.
  • Post-Master’s DNP program accepts applications for fall and spring terms.
  • Doctor of Nursing Practice Program accepts applications for fall term.
  • Master of Science in Occupational Therapy accepts applications for summer term.
  • Dietetic Internship program accepts applications for fall term.

*Certain programs have different applications deadlines. 

Nicholas Wilson Play video

The Master of Science in Nursing program has prepared me for my role as a nurse leader.

Nicholas Wilson '05, MSN'18

Admission Tracks


Students can enroll in our graduate programs through traditional admission or  career admission – designed for applicants who have distinguished themselves in the workplace or community.

  • Traditional Admission

    Traditional admission is designed for applicants who have received their baccalaureate degree within the past six years, have limited professional work experience or any applicant who prefers traditional admission procedures. Traditional admission procedures, including standardized test scores may be required for some of our graduate programs.

    Candidates for admission to the Graduate School as a degree-seeking student through the traditional admission must submit all additional documentation, including scores on requisite standardized entrance exams, if requested by the specific graduate program.

    Master of Arts in Teaching: Praxis II Content Knowledge Exam required

  • Career Admission

    The Graduate School values your work experience and offers Career Admission which is designed for applicants who have distinguished themselves in the workplace, military or community. Career applicants demonstrate they are capable of graduate studies through documentation of professional work, letters of professional endorsement, and written expression.

    Candidates for admission to the Graduate School as a degree-seeking student through Career Admission must:

    • Possess an earned baccalaureate degree from a regionally accredited college or university in an appropriate discipline having met the GPA requirement for the desired program of study;
    • Request official copies for all college transcripts to be forwarded directly to the Division of Enrollment Management;
    • Submit the online application for the desired program along with the required non-refundable application fee;
    • If you have significant work experience (career admission track), please detail thoroughly on your resume so this may be prioritized when reviewing your application. Ideally, candidates will possess a combination of an undergraduate degree and a minimum of six years of professional work experience. To demonstrate exemplary work experience, the applicant should submit the following materials: Detailed resume that highlights specific career accomplishments; Letter of endorsement from an employer or professional within the chosen field which attests to the applicant’s qualifications for graduate level work; Writing sample clearly articulating goals and life experiences which have impacted the student’s decision to pursue this specific graduate degree; Any other documentation (e.g. work sample, portfolio, performance reviews, etc) that the candidate believes would strengthen the application. Be available for an interview upon request.
    • Submit all additional documentation as required by the specific graduate program. 

    Not all graduate programs consider the career admission track. Programs not accepting Career Admission Track are M.S. in Occupational Therapy, M.A. in Teaching and M.S. in Physician Assistant Studies.

Start Your Application


Your application is considered complete once LR has received your application form and all your required supporting documents:

Lenoir-Rhyne University
Division of Enrollment Management
625 7th Ave NE, LRU 7227
Hickory, NC 2860

A candidate for admission to The Graduate School will:

  1. Possess an earned baccalaureate degree from a regionally accredited college or university in an appropriate discipline.
  2. Submit official copies of all college transcripts.
  3. Submit a completed application for the desired program along with the required $35 application fee.
  4. Possess an undergraduate cumulative GPA of a 2.7 or higher on a 4.0 scale.
    Refer to Program-Specific Requirements below for Counseling (Post-Master’s) Clinical Mental Health Licensure and Counseling (Post-Master’s) School Counseling Licensure, Occupational Therapy, Doctor of Nursing Practice, Teaching, and Dietetic Internship.
  5. Submit a writing sample describing goals and life experiences which influenced the decision to pursue a graduate degree (1-3 pages).
  6. Submit a resume describing education, work, and volunteer experience; if you have significant work experience, detail thoroughly on your resume so it can be prioritized when reviewing your application.
  7. Submit academic or professional recommendation.
  8. Submit all additional documentation as required by the specific graduate program;
  9. Submit standardized test scores (GRE, MAT, PRAXIS II, or GMAT) if requested by the specific program or if it strengthens your application.
  10. Complete an interview upon request. The admissions committee determines admission decisions based on the whole application and reserves the right to admit, provisionally admit, waitlist, or deny applicants.

*If Traditional Admission, one academic recommendation letter must be submitted via email through the application system. You will need the email address of the person from whom you request a recommendation to complete this process.

*If Career Admission, one professional recommendation letter must be submitted via email through the application system. You will need the email address of the person from whom you request a recommendation to complete this process.

*Prospective students may be admitted based on unofficial transcripts and/or as courses are in progress. However, LR must receive a final transcript before a student enrolls.

School Codes


Program Specific Requirements


In addition to the program application and submission details above, the following programs have supplemental requirements when applying. 

  • Business Administration (MBA)
    Learn more about the Business Administration, MBA
  • Counseling (MA) - Clinical Mental Health Counseling & School Counseling

    Campus Offerings:

    • Clinical Mental Health Counseling: Hickory, Asheville & Columbia
    • School Counseling: Hickory & Asheville

    GRE or MAT test scores may be requested. Minimum GRE scores are Verbal 147, Quantitative 147; Analytical Writing 3.5; Minimum MAT scores is 390.

    Applicants who meet the admission requirements are admitted into The Graduate School at Lenoir-Rhyne University. After successfully completing COU 505, COU 525, and COU 530, students apply for candidacy to the counseling program.

    Learn more about the Counseling, M.A.
  • Counseling (Post-Master's) - Clinical Mental Health Licensure Track

    Campus Offerings: Hickory, Asheville & Columbia

    If you have previously earned a master’s degree in Counseling, but need additional coursework for licensure purposes, you may apply to this track. If you have not earned a master’s degree in counseling, you must apply for the Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling.

    Additional requirements:

    • Submit letter from the licensure board (NCBLCMHC) indicating which coursework is required, if applicable.
    • One professional recommendation (done via email through the application system). You will need the email address of the person from whom you request a recommendation to complete this process.
    • Submit a writing sample describing goals and life experiences that have impacted your decision to pursue a Counseling degree and addressing the need for additional coursework (1-3 pages).
    • Certain pre or co-requisites may be required depending on the previous graduate coursework completed.
    • Be available for an interview with Counseling faculty upon request.

    Should clinical fieldwork placement courses (practicum and internship) be required, the following additional requirements may be required:

    • Official test scores (CPCE or NCE)
    • Reference form (provided by LR Counseling Department) from individual familiar with applicant’s clinical work and abilities (such as previous university faculty member or clinical supervisor)
    • Successfully complete an individual interview with a panel of designated faculty
  • Counseling (Post-Master's) - School Counseling Licensure Track

    Campus Offerings: Hickory & Asheville

    If you have previously earned a master’s degree in Counseling, but need additional coursework for licensure purposes, you may apply to this track. If you have not earned a master’s degree in counseling, you must apply for the Master of Arts in School Counseling.

    Submit letter from the licensure board (NCBLCMHC) indicating which coursework is required, if applicable.

    Official transcripts from each college or university attended, demonstrating successful or pending completion of a master’s degree in Counseling from a regionally accredited institution, with a minimum cumulative graduate GPA of 3.0.**

    Certain pre or co-requisites may be required depending on the previous graduate coursework completed.

    One professional recommendation (done via email through the application system). You will need the email address of the person from whom you request a recommendation to complete this process.

    Submit a writing sample describing goals and life experiences that have impacted your decision to pursue a Counseling degree and addressing the need for additional coursework (1-3 pages).

  • Creative Writing (MFA)

    Campus Offerings: Asheville

    In addition to the essay noted above, applicants to the program must submit:

    • One-page personal statement detailing your story of being a writer and your curiosity for what lies ahead. What do you seek for your writing from the MFA?
    • Applicants should submit two writing samples. The writing samples should be 2 -5 pages in length and double-spaced. They can be essays, stories, excerpts, or poetry. Applicants may submit both in one genre or demonstrate ability in two genres. If the sample is an excerpt from a longer work, please provide a summary of the structure of the whole. (Fiction, Poetry, Creative Nonfiction, Narrative Healthcare)
    • GRE or MAT test scores may be requested. Minimum GRE scores are Verbal 147, Quantitative 147; Analytical Writing 3.5; Minimum MAT scores is 390.
    Learn more about the MFA in Creative Writing
  • Criminal Justice Leadership (MA)

    Campus Offerings: Hickory

    For admission to the program, GRE or MAT test scores may be requested. Minimum GRE scores are Verbal 147, Quantitative 147; Analytical Writing 3.5; Minimum MAT scores is 390.

    Learn more about the Criminal Justice Leadership, M.A.
  • Dietetic Internship

    Campus Offerings: Hickory, Asheville, Columbia & Online

    The Dietetic Internship participates in the spring match process for applications.

    For admission to the program, applicants must meet the following criteria:

    • An undergraduate cumulative GPA of a 2.9 on a 4.0 scale.
    • A grade of B on all recommended Didactic Program in Dietetics (DPD) courses. If you have made a grade lower than a B in any DPD course, please provide a written explanation in your required essays.
    • Have earned a DPD Verification Statement from an ACEND-accredited DPD program (completed by internship date).
    • GRE requirement currently waived due to the COVID pandemic.
    Applying to our program involves three steps:

    Step 1. DICAS Application

    1. Submit a completed application through the Dietetic Internship Centralized Application Service (DICAS). You will not need to submit another application to Lenoir-Rhyne. Visit the DICAS website for current application fees.
    2. Include a DPD Verification Statement or a Declaration of Intent if DPD courses are still in progress. Your DPD director will review and approve this verification electronically through DICAS.
    3. Submit three recommendations completed by professionals attesting to your ability.
    4. Submit a résumé or vitae.
    5. It is strongly recommended (although not required at application) that students applying to the distance option have secured a commitment from an inpatient clinical rotation preceptor to precept the student if their application to the program is accepted. 
    6. The deadline for submitting an application online through DICAS for the spring 2022 match is February 15, 2022.

    Note: we only need a statement from the proposed clinical preceptor at application. If accepted into the program, LR will provide forms for the student to complete for each rotation.

    Step 2. Submit the following directly to Lenoir-Rhyne University

    1. A non-refundable $35 application fee (only one application fee to LR is required even if applying to multiple dietetic internship location options). Submit your deposit.
    2. If accepted into the Solmaz Institute Dietetic Internship program, an original, signed verification statement from your DPD program will be required before program start.

    Step 3. Register with D&D Digital and rank the program for computer matching

    1. Applicants must register with D&D Digital and prioritize the program for computer matching. See D&D Digital website for current registration fee.

    A portion of the credit hours earned through the Dietetic Internship program may be applied toward either the Master of Public Health, M.S in Exercise Science or M.S. in Sustainability programs at Lenoir-Rhyne University. Please contact the program coordinator of the program of interest for more details. A formal application to the graduate program is required.

    Tuition and Fees

    All graduate students at Lenoir Rhyne University are subject to the tuition and fees described in the graduate handbook. The 2021-2022 tuition rate for the dietetic internship program is $800/credit hour. The dietetic internship program, when completed in the nine-month time frame, totals 18 credit hours. Since these costs are subject to change, students are encouraged to visit Graduate Cost and Aid. Costs for books, course materials, housing and transportation vary depending on the individual and the course requirements.

    Estimated Costs
    • LR application fee: $35
    • DICAS fee
    • D&D Digital fee
    • DI participation fee (estimated, assessed in addition to tuition): $275 fall semester and $275 spring semester, includes books and other materials provided to students, the RD exam review course and RD practice exam software
    • Books (depending on student’s resources and individual needs): variable, up to $250
    • Nutrition Care Process Terminology (NCPT) online subscription: $25
    • Laptop/Desktop Computer and high-speed internet access: Cost varies
    • Two Lab Coats: $40-$80
    • Student AND Membership: $50
    • Housing/Living Expenses: 1 or 2 bedroom apartment averages about $750/month (variable)
    • Transportation to Experience Sites: Sites can be within a one-hour drive of your place of residence
    • Physical Exam: Variable
    • Criminal Background check: estimate $50 (assigned facility may require additional criminal background check based on its policies and requirements)
    • Urine Drug Screen Panel: estimate $45 (assigned facility may require additional drug screens based on its policies and requirements)
    • Professional Liability Insurance: estimate $50

    The Solmaz Institute Dietetic Internship is accredited by:

    Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics
    120 South Riverside Plaza, Suite 2000
    Chicago, IL 60606-6995
    312.899.0040, ext. 5400

    Learn more about the Dietetic Internship
  • Exercise Science (MS)

    Campus Offerings: Online

    For admission to the program, GRE or MAT test scores may be requested. Minimum GRE scores are Verbal 147, Quantitative 147; Analytical Writing 3.5; Minimum MAT scores is 390.

    Prerequisite Requirements
    Competency in the basic areas of exercise science is required to begin courses in the program. Required prerequisites are Anatomy and Physiology I and II with labs. The areas of competency are covered in the following courses or their equivalents: BIO 281/ 282 Anatomy and Physiology I and II.

    Learn more about the Exercise Science, M.S.
  • Human Services (MA)

    Campus Offerings: Online

    GRE or MAT test scores may be requested. Minimum GRE scores are Verbal 147, Quantitative 147; Analytical Writing 3.5; Minimum MAT scores is 390.

    Learn more about the Human Services, M.A.
  • Leadership (MA)

    Campus Offerings: Online

    GRE or MAT test scores may be requested. Minimum GRE scores are Verbal 147, Quantitative 147; Analytical Writing 3.5; Minimum MAT scores is 390.

    Learn more about the Leadership, M.A.
  • Nursing (MSN)

    Campus Offerings: Online

    Our nursing program accepts applications for fall and summer terms only.

    For admission to the program, applicants must meet the following criteria:

    • An undergraduate cumulative GPA of a 2.7 on a 4.0 scale and 2.7 GPA in the last 60 hours of the program.
    • No grade lower than a C on the prerequisite courses of Statistics and Nursing Research.
    • Submit required two letters of endorsement clearly stating the applicant’s qualifications for graduate-level work and ability to complete this work in an online environment. Letters may be from an employer, professional within the chosen field or an undergraduate faculty member who can attest to the applicant’s ability to do graduate-level work. New graduate applicants with less than one year experience must have one letter from an undergraduate faculty member.
    • Evidence of an unrestricted RN license (provide license number and state in which the license is current).
    • A criminal background check and drug screen will be required upon enrollment as directed by the School of Nursing.
    Learn more about the Nursing, MSN
  • Nursing Practice (DNP/FNP)

    Campus Offerings: Online

    DNP: The fall 2022 priority application deadline is March 1, 2022. Students entering the fall 2022 cohort are expected to be at the initial immersion in August. Dates TBD.

    For admission to the program, applicants must meet the following criteria:

    • An undergraduate cumulative GPA of a 3.0 on a 4.0 scale.
    • A nursing GPA of 3.0 from all nursing schools attended (ADN and BSN).
    • A baccalaureate degree in nursing from a nationally accredited program (NLN or CCNE).
    • Currently employed as a Registered Nurse with an unrestricted nursing license.
    • No grade lower than a C on the prerequisite courses of Statistics and Nursing Research.
    • Competent in computer skills.
    • Evidence of an unrestricted RN license (provide license number and state in which the license is current).
    • A philosophy statement reflecting personal and professional goals, including the reason you would like to become a Family Nurse Practitioner; describe a clinical practice problem that you would like to pursue for a potential DNP project, and how implementing this project may address a need for a change in practice. All references should be cited using APA format.
    • Submit three professional recommendations (done via email through the application system). The recommendations may include academic or nursing faculty, supervisor, former or current employer or manager. At least one reference must be from clinical practice.
    • Upon enrollment, a criminal background check and drug screen will be required as directed by the School of Nursing.
    • Interviews may be required.
    Learn more about the Nursing, DNP
  • Nursing Practice (Post-Master’s DNP)

    Campus Offerings: Online

    The spring 2022 priority application deadline is December 1, 2021. The fall 2022 priority application deadline is August 1, 2022. Students entering are expected to be at the initial immersion in August. Dates TBD.

    For admission to the program, applicants must meet the following criteria:

    • An undergraduate cumulative GPA of a 3.0 on a 4.0 scale.
    • A nursing GPA of 3.0 from all nursing schools attended (AND, BSN and MSN).
    • A master’s degree in nursing from a nationally accredited program (ACEN or CCNE).
    • Currently employed as a Registered Nurse with an unrestricted nursing license.
    • No grade lower than a B on a master's level nursing research/evidence-based practice course.
    • Competent in computer skills.
    • Evidence of an unrestricted RN license (provide license number and state in which the license is current).
    • A philosophy statement reflecting personal and professional goals, including the reason you would like to become a Family Nurse Practitioner; describe a clinical practice problem that you would like to pursue for a potential DNP project, and how implementing this project may address a need for a change in practice. All references should be cited using APA format.
    • Submit three professional recommendations (done via email through the application system). The recommendations may include academic or nursing faculty, supervisor, former or current employer or manager. At least one reference must be from clinical practice.
    • Upon enrollment, a criminal background check and drug screen will be required as directed by the School of Nursing.
    • Interviews may be required.

    After Admission
    The number of clinical hours completed during the master’s program must be verified.

  • Occupational Therapy (MS)

    Campus Offerings: COL and HKY

    The LR School of Occupational Therapy sponsors one Occupational Therapy program with two cohorts located in Hickory, NC and Columbia, SC. The program vision, mission, curriculum, and student learning outcomes are identical for both sites, incorporating strategic use of interactive video networking for dynamic learning to promote achievement of student learning outcomes between cohorts. Full-time faculty on both campuses are licensed occupational therapists. If you are open to attending either location, you may apply to both.

    All applications for the occupational therapy program at Lenoir-Rhyne University must be submitted through the Centralized Application Service for Occupational Therapy programs (OTCAS). Applicants only need to apply via OTCAS. An additional application to Lenoir-Rhyne is not required.

    The application cycle through OTCAS* will open in mid-July 2021 for anticipated admissions in Summer 2022. The application deadline is  January 15, 2022. Your application must be completed and verified by the deadline to be considered for admission.

    *Per OTCAS: Once all required application materials are received, your application’s status changes to complete, and your application is placed in line to be verified. Verifications occur in chronological order, and on average, take two weeks to complete. It is recommended that prospective students visit the OTCAS Applicant Help Center within OTCAS to familiarize themselves with the application and FAQs.

    For admission to the program, applicants must meet the following criteria:

    • Completion of a baccalaureate degree from a regionally accredited college or university in the United States, prior to matriculation.
    • An undergraduate cumulative GPA of a 3.0 on a 4.0 scale and completion of all prerequisite coursework.
    • No grade lower than a B- on the prerequisite courses within the past five years, prior to matriculation. If you wish to submit a prerequisite that is older than five years, a request for permission can be submitted through the Waiver of Five Year Limit Form.
    • Lenoir-Rhyne will accept P/F or Credit/No Credit due to COVID-19.

    Applying to our program involves several steps:

    1. Submit your application and all supplemental application materials through OTCAS during the appropriate application window.
    2. Send OTCAS all official transcripts from each college or university attended.
    3. Upload your unofficial transcript or proof of registration documenting your Fall 2021 and/or Spring 2022 courses into OTCAS if not seen on submitted official transcript.
    4. Upload your résumé or vitae.
    5. Submit three letters of reference:
      a. One letter of reference must come from a practicing occupational therapist (OTR);
      b. Other letters of reference must come an OTR, an occupational therapy assistant (COTA), an employer, supervisor, or professor.
      All students requesting recommendations for the application process need to have references to indicate their title/position and specifically the number of hours of observation. Students are encouraged to independently log their own hours in order to make this information readily available for the individual writing the letter of reference.
    6. Recommended minimum 40 hours of observational hours.
    7. Essay (Reflective Statement): Submit a reflective statement (between 750 and 1000 words) in addition to the required general OTCAS essay, to convey your understanding of the Occupational Therapy profession. Using your observational/shadowing experiences and knowledge of OT as a foundation, respond to the following questions:
      • Why OT? What did you learn about OT through your experiences? How do you define OT? What personal attributes make you a good fit for OT?
      • What is evidenced-based practice? How did you see it applied in service delivery? Why is it important for OT practice?
      • How do you maintain your positive well-being in times of stress?
      • What kinds of experiences have you had with people of cultural and diverse backgrounds different than your own that will prepare you for working with clients?
      • How would you encourage clients and honor their uniqueness when providing OT services?
    8. Complete the required prerequisite courses as seen below. Prior to submitting a request for a course of substitution using the Prerequisite Inquiry Form, please review the extensive OT Prerequisite Guide. Use this form to directly submit your requests and you will receive an email from OT faculty. Save the email and upload it into the document section of your OT application.

    9. Although an interview may not be required, all applicants must be available to interview upon request.
    10. Priority consideration given to applicants who attend an OT Visit Day or OT Information Session (in person or virtually).
    11. Priority consideration is given to LR undergraduates who meet minimum requirements.
    12. Upon admission, complete a criminal background check to the program.

    Prerequisite Requirements
    Competency in the basic areas of occupational therapy is required to begin courses in the program. Required prerequisites are Anatomy and Physiology I and II with labs. The areas of competency are covered in the following courses or their equivalents: Statistics (includes Intro to Statistics), Intro to Psychology, Developmental Psychology, Abnormal Psychology, Sociology (includes Intro to Sociology) or Anthropology (includes Intro to Anthropology) and Medical Terminology.

    The admissions committee determines admissions decisions based on the whole application and reserves the right to admit, provisionally admit, waitlist, or deny applicants on this policy.

    Learn more about the Occupational Therapy, M.S.
  • Religious Leadership (MA)

    Campus Offerings: Online

    GRE or MAT test scores may be requested. Minimum GRE scores are Verbal 147, Quantitative 147; Analytical Writing 3.5; Minimum MAT scores is 390.

    Learn more about the Religious Leadership, M.A.
  • Sustainability Studies (MS)

    Campus Offerings: Asheville

    GRE or MAT test scores may be requested. Minimum GRE scores are Verbal 147, Quantitative 147; Analytical Writing 3.5; Minimum MAT scores is 390.

    Learn more about the Sustainability Studies, M.S.
  • Teaching (MAT)

    Campus Offerings: Online

    For admission to the program, applicants must have a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.7 on a 4.0 scale and complete a:

    • Praxis II Content Knowledge Exam (content area testing tab) according to desired content area.
    • Criminal background check using Castlebranch upon enrollment. The LR code is EO50. There is a fee associated with this service.

    The teaching program does not consider the career admission track.

    Learn more about the Teaching, M.A.

Lenoir-Rhyne University is grieving the loss of one of our student-athletes. Omari Alexander, a 19-year-old sophomore from Concord, North Carolina and member of the LR football team, was killed overnight on November 20 in an off-campus incident in Hickory.

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Lenoir-Rhyne University will receive $4.3 million as part of the North Carolina state budget that was signed into law on November 18.

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