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Master's Requirements

Major professor as advisor

You must have a major professor from your chosen graduate program unit.

The major professor advises you on courses and graduate faculty requirements and supervises your research.

Minimum Credit Requirement

Each graduate program unit sets its own credit requirements. Contact your program representative.

Credit Transfer

The maximum number of transfer credits allowable is the higher of (a) 12 semester credits or (b) 40% of the total number of credits required for graduation. To qualify, the work must meet the following criteria:

  • Graduate level, from an accredited institution.
  • Taken within five years of admission to your UWM degree program.
  • Not have been used to meet previous degree requirements.
  • Grade of B or better (B- is not acceptable).
  • Approved by your graduate program unit.

To transfer credit, you must submit a Graduate Transfer Credit Evaluation Form to the Graduate School. This form must also be completed by students in the UW-Green Bay/UWM and UW-Parkside/UWM cooperative programs.

Transfer Credit Evaluation Form

An official transcript of the coursework listed on the form must be sent directly from the transfer institution to the Graduate School. Unofficial transcripts are unacceptable.

To take coursework at another institution as part of your master's program, you must obtain permission from your advisor and from the Graduate School. Taking coursework at another institution during the semester you intend to graduate is not recommended and does not satisfy the minimum registration requirement at UWM for your final semester of studies.

Transfer credit will be posted on your official record after you have completed one semester in your degree program. Transfer work is not calculated into the UWM GPA; only UWM coursework is calculated into the GPA.

Will you be writing a thesis?

If your master's program requires a thesis, it must comply with the Graduate School's Master's Thesis and Doctoral Dissertation Format Requirements, as well as any requirements specified by your graduate program unit. The thesis is approved by your major professor and/or thesis committee.

Research subject to institutional approval

All students, faculty, and staff who engage in research activity must be aware of the following requirements.

If your research involves human subjects, you must have prior approval from the Institutional Review Board for the Protection of Human Subjects in Research (IRB).

If your research involves radioactive materials, biohazards, or vertebrate animals, it must be completed under the protocol or authorization of a principal investigator and/or faculty member. University Safety and Assurances coordinates research compliance for these activities.

You must certify the receipt of any required approvals when you submit your thesis. The Graduate School will not accept a thesis containing research data collected without required approvals.

Final Evaluation

In order to receive a master's degree, you must show the ability to integrate your knowledge of your discipline through one or more of the following means, as determined by your graduate program unit:

  • An oral and/or written comprehensive examination.
  • Defense of a thesis.
  • A comprehensive final project, paper, exhibition, or integrative course.

Time Limit

If your master's program requires 30 credits or fewer, you must complete all degree requirements within five years of your first enrollment in the program. If your program requires over 30 credits, you must complete all requirements within seven years. Some graduate program units have shorter time limits.



Please see the Graduation Procedures page for more information.

Minimum Credit Registration

You must be registered for at least 1 UWM graduate credit (audit not allowed) during the semester your degree is awarded. If you have met all academic requirements and do not need to take another course, or if you have reached your thesis credit limit, you may enroll in course 888, "Candidate for Degree," if your program offers it. This course does not add to your credit total, apply to your degree, or affect your GPA. You are assessed the equivalent of one graduate credit in fees and receive a grade of S.

Review and Approval

The Graduate School reviews your record to ensure that you will have fulfilled degree requirements at the end of the current semester. Graduate faculty minimum graduation GPA requirement is a cumulative 3.0 (4.0 basis).

Your graduation application is then forwarded to your graduate program unit for its recommendation and approval. When your graduate program unit has reviewed and approved your application, it is returned to the Graduate School.

You cannot graduate with Incomplete, Not Reported, or Progress notations remaining on your record. Transcripts and diplomas will not be released until Hold notations are cleared. The Graduate School has the final authorization to grant the degree.

Commencement Ceremony

Graduation ceremonies are held in May and December. August graduates attend the December graduation ceremony. Attendance at the commencement ceremonies is optional.

About one month before graduation, all eligible master's candidates will receive a letter from the Secretary of the University's office containing the date, location, and time of the ceremony, as well as information on ordering caps and gowns. Any questions about the commencement ceremony should be directed to the Secretary of the University.

If you want your name to appear in the commencement bulletin, be sure that your directory information with the University is not restricted. If you restricted the release of your address, phone number, and other limited information, contact the Registrar's Office Information Center, Mellencamp 274. This should be done by the second week of the semester in which you expect to graduate to ensure that your name will appear in the bulletin.

Removal of the restriction will allow your directory information to be released for all publicity purposes, as well as the commencement booklet.

Page last updated on: 05/20/2015