Graduate Study in More than One Field

Graduate students with interests in more than a single field of study have several options, outlined below. In considering any of these possibilities, advice should be sought from faculty in the student’s program. Immediate oversight of each graduate student’s program is the responsibility of graduate faculty in that program.

Interdisciplinary Programs

Many graduate programs throughout the university allow for substantial interdisciplinary research and training. In addition, there are a number of inter-school/college interdisciplinary degree programs housed in the Graduate School. Graduate School Policy 4.4 outlines the creation and function of Graduate School interdisciplinary committees and groups.

Concurrent Degrees

Graduate students may pursue two degrees simultaneously, resulting in completion of the requirements for either two graduate degrees or a graduate and a professional degree. Students may coordinate with any two degree-offering units to pursue “informal” concurrent degrees. Two degree-offering units may also officially collaborate on an ongoing basis to establish a “formal” concurrent degree. Details can be found in Graduate School Policy 1.5.

Joint/dual degrees between two units at UW

The UW currently does not support joint degrees between units (where a single degree is earned for work done in each unit). Faculty members and students of existing departments or programs who are interested in coordinating two degree programs should follow the guidelines for concurrent degrees.

Joint/dual degrees between the UW and other institutions

The UW currently does not support joint degrees with other institutions (where a single degree is earned, endorsed by two institutions, for work done at both institutions). Dual degree programs may be established by degree-offering units with other institutions in close coordination with the Graduate School’s Office of Academic Affairs & Planning and, when appropriate, with the Office of Global Affairs. See guidelines for new international collaborations.

The Graduate School does not support agreements where a single body of academic work is recognized with the granting of two distinct degrees from different institutions, including submission of a dissertation to UW that is also submitted at another institution for a doctoral degree. There is, however, wide latitude for faculty and students to pursue coordinated research and mentoring across institutions. Some examples are: jointly conducted research; doctoral committees with members from different institutions; coordinated faculty mentorship across institutions; and residency and work at multiple universities. These are all readily implemented under current Graduate School policies and procedures. These types of individual interactions should be managed at the unit or college/school level and do not need central Graduate School approval beyond normal approval of the doctoral committee and acceptance of the thesis.