The Graduate School

Graduate School

The Graduate School was formally established as a separate division of Creighton University in 1926, although the first master’s degree was conferred by the University in 1893. Currently the Graduate School administers more than 35 different programs at the master's and doctoral levels.


The Graduate School is charged with promoting graduate studies and research of high quality within the various graduate programs, and with fostering scholarship and research among the faculty.

Graduate study differs from undergraduate study in that, while extending the student’s range of knowledge through course work and independent study, it intends to develop traits of critical judgment, independent thinking, scholarly initiative, and the habit of disciplined inquiry. Each graduate student is expected to thoroughly develop knowledge and skills in at least one field of endeavor so that the student can communicate the major concepts of that area of expertise to specialists and laypersons. The student should not expect to acquire the advanced knowledge and technical skills for interpretation and development of one’s field of study from formal classroom and laboratory sessions alone, but should, in addition, utilize his or her energies to collect, organize, synthesize, and communicate the knowledge and application of the independent resources of one’s chosen discipline. Mature graduate study, then, aids the student in acquiring the skills requisite to identifying problems of inquiry, formulating means to the solution of those problems, and communicating the interpretations of scholarly analysis.

Mission Statement

Within the context of Creighton University as a Jesuit, Catholic University, the Graduate School provides value centered education that develops advanced mastery in a field of study. The Graduate School is committed to supporting excellence in graduate education through personal contact with a community of faculty scholars in an environment that fosters critical judgment, scholarly initiative and disciplined inquiry. Creighton University seeks to produce graduates who have the wisdom, judgment and faith to work for a more just society.

Vision Statement

Creighton University will leverage its unique strengths as a small, yet comprehensive university to be a leader in graduate education by offering innovative programs that foster academic excellence and scholarly research; developing graduates with an ethical foundation who will serve society; and promoting Creighton’s mission as a Jesuit, Catholic University.

University Learning Outcomes

The University Assessment Committee has articulated six university-level outcomes that are common to all undergraduate, graduate, and professional student experience.


Creighton University embraces the Jesuit spirit of intellectual openness, tolerance, and celebration of different gifts and talents. Within the context of Creighton as a Jesuit, Catholic University, the Graduate School provides a value-centered education that develops advanced mastery of a field of study. It puts graduate students in personal contact with faculty scholars in an environment that fosters critical judgment, scholarly initiative and disciplined inquiry. From the Mission Statement emerge six goals.

At the completion of their programs, graduates will:

  1. demonstrate the disciplinary competence and/or professional proficiency with a global perspective in service to others;
  2. demonstrate an ability to combine critical thinking, disciplined research, and effective problem-solving in their field of study;
  3. demonstrate ethical decision making, service, and civic responsibility in accordance with the Judeo-Christian tradition and Ignatian values;
  4. respectfully and effectively communicate information through all modes of expression;
  5. demonstrate deliberative reflection for lifelong personal and professional formation; and
  6. demonstrate an ability to work effectively and in solidarity across the distinctions of human diversity.

These six goals provide a general framework for the assessment of student learning outcomes of various graduate programs. Some differences in content and emphasis will be noted between programs given the roles for which their students are being prepared. For example, doctoral programs will put substantial emphasis on the independent conduct of research while programs leading to a master’s may put more emphasis on the ability to critique research and interpret findings to non-specialists in their field.

Organization of the Graduate School

The Graduate School of Creighton University is conducted under the administration of the Dean and Board of Graduate Studies. The Board of Graduate Studies is composed of the Dean (chair), six faculty representatives elected by the graduate faculty, and six faculty appointed by the Dean, and two student representatives.

Each program is coordinated by a graduate program director, who is responsible for the administration of the graduate program and serves as a liaison with the Graduate School. The graduate program director is responsible for coordinating academic advising of the graduate students, making admission decisions, and allocating fellowships and assistantships. The graduate program director communicates policies on graduate programs to departmental faculty, and communicates departmental decisions and recommendations to the Graduate School.

The Graduate Faculty

The faculty of the Graduate School are appointed by the Dean from the faculty of those divisions of the University that offer graduate programs: Creighton College of Arts and Sciences, Heider College of Business, the School of Dentistry, the Graduate School, the School of Law, the School of Medicine, the College of Nursing, and the School of Pharmacy and Health Professions.

The graduate faculty serve as program directors, graduate student advisors, and instructors. Questions relating to specific aspects of graduate study can be directed to the particular program’s director of graduate studies or to the student’s graduate advisor. Questions relating to specific aspects of admission, however, should be directed to the Office of Enrollment Management.

The duties of the graduate faculty include the following:

  1. Reviewing, sponsoring, and making recommendations regarding the admission of new students to degree programs and forwarding them to the Dean of the Graduate School for approval;
  2. Advising graduate students and formulating curricular plans of study;
  3. Reviewing and approving individual degree programs (plans of study) and forwarding them to the Dean of the Graduate School for approval;
  4. Assisting the Dean of the Graduate School in implementation of regulations and policies covering graduate students, graduate study, and graduate courses.

Nature of Graduate Study

A graduate course provides for advanced study in a field of knowledge beyond the upper-division level. It demands a higher level of independent critical analysis and a higher degree of specialization than is usually required in an undergraduate course. A graduate course may be conducted in several ways:

  1. As a course designed to organize the results of original research or to expand an advanced field of knowledge;
  2. As a seminar in which the instructor and a small group of graduate students present the results of their special study and original research for group criticism, evaluation, and discussion;
  3. As an individual project or as individual research conducted under the supervision of a senior scholar.

The graduate curriculum is designed to provide the student advanced study in a selected discipline or in an interdisciplinary program. All courses listed in an advanced degree program must be graduate or advanced upper-division courses approved by the student’s graduate committee and graduate advisor.

Online Study

More than two-thirds of Creighton University graduate students are enrolled in an online program. To be successful in an online learning environment, students must have regular, reliable access to the Internet and be comfortable with technology, be self-motivated and able to work independently, have good time management skills, be able to meet deadlines, and have good written and oral communication skills. The online learning environment is a collaborative environment, where all students participate in the discussions and assignments. This fosters a community of learners, as students learn from each others' experiences. They are also exposed to situational experiences and learn to apply class concepts to real situations. Additionally, this “global” classroom exposes students to content, situations and experiences shared by fellow students from anywhere in the world. The 24/7 e-classroom allows learners to interact anytime, anywhere, and complete assignments and share information when it is most convenient for them. Adult learners excel in this environment. A more obvious benefit to online learning is the direct relation to technology in the classroom. Online learning encourages students to participate in online conversations, research and communication, thus receiving the exposure to skills that are critical for success in the 21st century. Online students have access to the same services as on-campus students, and are expected to abide by all policies governing graduate study.