UW Graduate School

Memo 46: Graduate Degree Requirements

This memorandum describes general policies on minimum degree requirements and allowable credits for graduate degrees. Degree requirements for specific graduate programs are managed by that program and may be in excess of the minimum requirements described in this memo.

This memorandum includes the following sections:
I. General Policies
II. Requirements Applying to All Graduate Degree Programs
III. Master’s Degree Requirements
IV. Educational Specialist Degree Requirements
V. Doctoral Degree Requirements other than Practice Doctorates
VI. Practice Doctoral Degree Requirements

I. General Policies

A graduate degree program consists of a coherent body of study beyond the baccalaureate degree that includes a meaningful progression of coursework and may include a thesis, capstone, or other culminating experience.

The Graduate School defines minimum degree requirements for all University of Washington graduate programs. Individual graduate programs may have degree requirements that exceed the Graduate School minimum requirements.

The Graduate Faculty with oversight of a graduate program have primary responsibility for assuring that students recommended for graduation have satisfactorily fulfilled the degree requirements for the program in which they are enrolled.

A student must satisfy the requirements for the degree that are in force at the time the degree is to be awarded. Exceptions may be made for programs that have undergone changes to degree requirements.

II. Requirements Applying to All Graduate Degree Programs

  1. Credits applied towards graduate degree requirements must include University of Washington coursework of (1) at least 18 credits at the 500 level and above; and (2) at least 18 graded credits of 400- and 500-level coursework, excluding 499.
  2. Graduate degree requirements normally consist primarily of graduate-level coursework at the 500 level. Courses at the 300 level and 400 level may be part of a student’s course of study and applied toward graduate degree requirements when acceptable to the student’s graduate program and the Graduate School. Coursework at the 300 level may not be applied towards the minimum 18 graded credits and may not be applied towards more than one-third of total degree requirements, except as previously approved by the Graduate School.
  3. A student must be registered the quarter in which any required exam or presentation occurs. A student must maintain registration as a full-time or part-time graduate student for the quarter the degree or certificate is conferred.
  4. A minimum cumulative grade point average (GPA) of 3.00 is required to earn a graduate degree, and a minimum of 2.7 is required in each course that is counted toward graduate degree requirements. See Memorandum 19 for coursework included in the GPA.
  5. With the approval of a student’s graduate program and the Graduate School, up to 6 credits of 500-level coursework, taken as a senior while an undergraduate at the University of Washington, may be applied towards graduate degree requirements. These credits must not have been applied towards undergraduate degree or major requirements.
  6. With the approval of a student’s graduate program, a restricted amount of Graduate Non-Matriculated (GNM) credit may be applied towards degree requirements, as described in Memorandum 37.
  7. Credit taken while enrolled as a non-matriculated (NM) student or while matriculated as a post-baccalaureate student at the University of Washington may not be applied towards graduate degree requirements. Credit by independent study or advanced credit examination is not transferable.

III. Master’s Degree Requirements

In addition to the requirements listed under Section II that apply to all graduate degree programs:

  1. Master’s degree requirements must include a minimum of 36 credits. A master’s program may require more than this minimum.
  2. A student must complete all work for the master’s degree within six years from the time of first enrollment.
  3. Master’s programs may require a thesis or final examination. For more information, see Memorandum 28.

Coursework that may be applied towards master’s degree requirements:

  1. Transfer credits: A maximum of 6 quarter credits of graduate-level coursework taken at another recognized academic institution may be transferred and apply to UW master’s degree requirements, when acceptable to the graduate program and the Graduate School. Transfer credit must not have been used to satisfy requirements for another degree.
  2. No more than 12 credits derived from any combination of GNM credits and transfer credits may be applied towards the total degree requirements.

IV. Educational Specialist Degree Requirements

In addition to the requirements listed under Section II that apply to all graduate degree programs:

  1. Educational specialist degree requirements must include a minimum of 54 credits. An educational specialist program may require more than this minimum.
  2. Degree requirements must include at least 6 credits of capstone experience (course number 750).
  3. A student must complete all work for the educational specialist degree within six years from the time of first enrollment.

Coursework that may be applied towards educational specialist degree requirements:

  1. Transfer credits: A maximum of 6 quarter credits of graduate-level coursework taken at another recognized academic institution may be transferred and apply to UW degree requirements, when acceptable to the graduate program and the Graduate School. Transfer credit must not have been used to satisfy requirements for another degree.
  2. No more than 12 credits derived from any combination of GNM credits and transfer credits may be applied towards the total degree requirements.

V. Doctoral Degree Requirements other than Practice Doctorates

In addition to the requirements listed under Section II that apply to all graduate degree programs, the following requirements apply to all doctoral degrees other than practice doctorates. For practice doctorate requirements, see section VI.

  1. Doctoral degree requirements must include a minimum of 90 credits beyond the baccalaureate. A doctoral degree program may require more than this minimum.
  2. General Examination
    • The student must successfully pass a general examination.
    • At least 18 credits of graded coursework at the 500 level and above must be completed prior to scheduling the general examination.
    • The attainment of candidacy indicates successful completion of the general examination and all other requirements for the doctoral degree except satisfactory completion of the dissertation and the final examination.
  3. Dissertation
    • Requirements must include preparation of and acceptance by the Dean of the Graduate School of a dissertation that is a significant contribution to knowledge and clearly indicates training in research.
    • The student must satisfactorily complete a minimum of 27 credits of dissertation (800) over a period of at least three quarters, with at least one quarter occurring after the general examination.
    • With the exception of summer quarter, students are limited to a maximum of 10 credits per quarter of dissertation (800).
  4. Final Examination
    • The student must pass a final examination usually devoted to the dissertation and the field with which it is concerned.
    • The general examination and final examination cannot occur during the same quarter.
  5. All work applied to the doctoral degree must be completed within ten years, including credits counted from a master’s degree at UW.

Coursework that may be applied towards doctoral degree requirements:

  1. With the approval of the graduate program and the Graduate School, a master’s degree in a relevant field of study from an accredited institution may substitute for up to 30 of the required 90 credits. No other transfer credits are allowed for doctoral programs.
  2. With the approval of the graduate program, any number of credits applied to a UW master’s degree in the same program may be counted towards doctoral degree requirements.

VII. Practice Doctoral Degree Requirements

In addition to the requirements listed under Section II that apply to all graduate degree programs:

  1. Practice doctoral degree requirements must include a minimum of 90 credits beyond the baccalaureate.
  2. The practice doctorate requires successful completion of 12 credits of project or capstone credit (801 Practice Doctorate Project/Capstone).

Coursework that may be applied towards doctoral degree requirements:

  1. With the approval of the graduate program and the Graduate School, a PhD or a master’s degree in a relevant field of study from an accredited institution may substitute for up to 30 of the required 90 credits. No other transfer credits are allowed for practice doctorates.
  2. With the approval of the graduate program, any number of credits applied to a UW master’s degree in the same program may be counted towards doctoral degree requirements.
  3. When a PhD and practice doctorate are earned concurrently, departments may petition the Graduate School to count 30 specified credits toward the total minimum credit count of each degree, for a total minimum of 150 credits. Core credits for either degree, as (defined as part of the core curriculum by the graduate program) may not be included in these 30 credits applied to both degrees, and this option may not be used on top of previously waived credits for either degree. It is the responsibility of each unit to assure that the credits applied toward its degree are relevant to that degree. The student must meet Graduate School minimum requirements (18 credits 500 level and above, 18 numerically graded 400/500 level credits) for each degree.