UW Graduate School

Memo 6: Authorization of New Graduate Degree Programs


Graduate education consists of post-baccalaureate programs of study and research leading to master’s degrees, doctoral degrees (exclusive of medical, dental, pharmacy, and first legal doctorates), graduate certificates, and intermediate certified status such as the “certificate of candidacy.” The Graduate School is responsible for supervising the content and level of programs leading to graduate degrees (University Handbook Vol 2, Section 23-24a). In general, the Graduate School adheres to the spirit of standards for graduate education set by the University of Washington’s accrediting body, the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities. There are two principal types of graduate degree programs.

  1. Research-oriented, leading to the Master’s or doctoral degree with emphasis on preparation for the creation of new knowledge through research or through the development of new modes of thought or expression. Completion of the program usually is signified by the award of Master of Arts, Master of Science, or Doctor of Philosophy degrees.
  2. Professional or practice-oriented, intended as preparation for professional practice at the frontiers of existing knowledge. Completion of the program usually is signified by the award of a degree of Master or Doctor of a professional field, e.g., Master of Business Administration, Master of Public Health, Doctor of Musical Arts.

Proposing a New Degree

The review and approval process for new graduate degree programs is coordinated by the Academic Affairs and Planning Office in the Graduate School.

Revised: February, 1985; Updated: June 2010