How to take a graduate business course without being enrolled in a degree program
VCU School of Business Graduate Studies welcomes nondegree-seeking students (also called visiting students or guest students.) We do our best to accomodate requests, given space limitations.
Timing and process
- Complete the Online Course Request Form for Non-Degree Seeking Students. The request form opens on the first day of advance registration for graduate students. It essentially serves as a virtual waiting list for when we may offer seats to non-degree seeking students.
- After requesting a course, potential nondegree-seeking students will need to be activated in the VCU system. A student identification number (V#) must be created before a course override can be issued. Students that have never attended VCU must complete a non-degree seeking student application. Prior students should determine if they may be “reactivated” without completing the online application by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling (804) 828-1349 with their full name, address, and previous dates of attendance.
- We award seats to non-degree seeking students approximately one week before the semester or summer session is set to begin. A precise date is listed on the request form. For a non-degree seeking student to register, our office must first issue a registration override in the system. We will notify the student by email if and when the override has been issued.
If you are interested in an undergraduate business course, please visit the undergraduate override request form.
Considerations before you take a course
Students interested in taking courses, but not in earning a degree, should pursue this avenue of registration. Students that plan to apply for graduate business program admission in the future should consider the pros and cons carefully.
- Students are allowed to complete up to six credit hours prior to being admitted into a program. If the prospective applicant is confident in their ability to be admitted, taking courses as a non-degree seeking student allows the applicant to get an early start on the curriculum.
- Future applicants sometimes take courses before applying to increase their competiveness for admission. Performing well in graduate courses can certainly bolster one’s application, but it may not be enough to overcome weaker aspects of an application.
- If a student is not able to gain admittance, it is possible that the courses completed will never be applied toward a degree.
- Changes to a program’s curriculum may adversely affect outcomes for nondegree-seeking students. The courses required to earn a degree are determined at the time of matriculation to the program, and there would be no “grandfathering” of completed courses that are no longer required for the program.
- Nondegree-seeking students do not have access to VCU Financial Aid. Other funding sources (e.g., scholarships and employer reimbursement) may also require that a student be enrolled in a degree program in order to receive benefits.