Printed on: 12/13/2018. Please go to http://policy.umn.edu for the most current version of the Policy or related document.
ADMINISTRATIVE POLICY

Application of Credits for Students Earning Graduate Degrees

Responsible University Officer(s):

  • Executive Vice President and Provost

Policy Owner(s):

  • Vice Provost and Dean of Graduate Education
  • Karen Starry

Date Revised:

Aug 29, 2018

Effective Date:

Sep 7, 2011

POLICY STATEMENT

This policy governs the application of graduate credits for students to satisfy the University’s minimum credit requirements for the following degrees:

  • Master’s Plan A degrees
  • Master’s Plan B degrees
  • Master’s Plan C degrees
  • Doctoral degrees

Applying graduate credits toward a University graduate degree

  1. Graduate credits taken before the award of a baccalaureate degree may be counted toward a graduate degree under limited circumstances if approved by the graduate program and collegiate unit. In order to avoid double-counting, graduate courses that were used to meet either credit or degree requirements for the baccalaureate degree may not be counted toward a graduate degree.
  2. The student’s graduate degree plan associated with each University graduate degree must consist of the following minimum number of credits earned while enrolled as a degree-seeking student in a University graduate program and that have not been applied to any other degree:
    1. For a master’s Plan A degree, at least 12 University graduate course credits and 10 University master’s thesis credits (xxxx-8777). In addition, students must meet the University’s 30-credit minimum total credits, or the graduate program’s minimum credit requirement, whichever is higher.
    2. For a master’s Plan B or Plan C degree, at least 20 University graduate course credits. In addition, students must meet the University’s 30-credit minimum total credits, or the graduate program’s minimum credit requirement, whichever is higher.
    3. For a doctoral degree, at least 12 University graduate course credits and 24 University doctoral thesis credits (xxxx-8888). For a doctoral degree that does not require doctoral thesis credit (xxxx-8888) registration, at least 36 University graduate course credits. In addition, doctoral students must meet the University’s 48-credit minimum total credits, or the graduate program’s minimum credit requirement, whichever is higher.
  3. Each graduate course on the graduate degree plan can be applied toward either the major or minor/other requirement, but not both.
  4. Graduate credits applied toward a minor field cannot also be applied toward another minor field.
  5. Additional graduate course credits included on the student’s graduate degree plan required to meet the degree program requirements, at the discretion of the program and subject to college approval, may include those earned from within or outside the University, from previous or concurrent graduate degrees, and/or those taken as a non-degree seeking or non-admitted student. Graduate credits earned while an undergraduate may be counted toward a graduate degree under limited circumstances, as noted in 1.
  6. Students earning a master’s and a doctoral degree from the same or related University graduate program, or who have been approved for a change of degree objective within the same or related University graduate program, may apply as many graduate course credits toward both degree objectives as allowed by the graduate program, subject to college approval.
  7. For programs that require doctoral students to pass the preliminary oral examination before they are eligible to register for doctoral thesis credits (xxxx-8888), master’s thesis credits (xxxx-8777) taken while enrolled in the same program as a master’s student may not be applied toward the doctoral thesis credit requirement. For programs that allow research-ready doctoral students to take doctoral thesis credits (xxxx-8888) prior to the successful completion of the preliminary oral examination, Plan A thesis xxxx-8777) and doctoral thesis (xxxx-8888) credits earned while enrolled in the same program can be counted toward either the Plan A master’s or the doctoral degree thesis credit requirement, but not both.
  8. Plan A thesis (xxxx-8777) and/or doctoral thesis (xxxx-8888) credits that are not used to fulfill the degree requirements for either the Plan A master’s or doctoral degree may be used to meet the Plan B master’s project requirement in the same program at the discretion of the program, subject to college approval.
  9. Plan B project credits may only be used to fulfill Plan B master’s degree requirements, even in the event of an approved change in degree option or degree objective.
  10. Graduate programs may accept University 4xxx-level course credits as graduate courses. A maximum of nine 4xxx-level course credits may be used to satisfy the master’s or doctoral course credit requirements, but graduate programs may impose a lower maximum.

Exceptions

For approved joint or dual degree programs, items 1 and 2 are not applicable. Such programs may formulate more specific requirements to regulate instances of courses-in-common arising as a result of the special nature of joint/dual degree curricula.

This policy does not apply to the J.D., M.D., Pharm.D., D.V.M., D.D.S., L.L.M., and M.B.A. (Twin Cities) degrees.

Effective Date

This policy applies to all students admitted after August 31, 2018. Students who matriculated before August 31, 2018 may choose to continue under the policies in effect when they initially matriculated in their graduate program.

REASON FOR POLICY

This policy provides the framework for applying graduate credits toward degree requirements under various scenarios. Graduate programs have the authority to accept or reject any graduate course credits that can be applied to a student's current degree plan.

PROCEDURES

FORMS/INSTRUCTIONS

APPENDICES

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

CONTACTS

SubjectContactPhoneEmail
Primary Contact(s) Karen Starry 612-625-2815 starry@umn.edu
University of Minnesota - Duluth Questions Erik Brown 218-726-8891 etbrown@umn.edu

DEFINITIONS

Master's Plan A
Master's degree programs that require a thesis for degree completion
Master's Plan B
Master's degree programs that substitute additional coursework and special projects for the thesis
Master's Plan C
Master's degree programs that are coursework only which provide an alternative structure for degree completion, such as a culminating experience in the form of a capstone course and/or paper
Plan B Project Credits
Credits taken by the students in relation to their Plan B project as part of the degree requirements
Thesis Credits
Credits taken by students in relation to their research work as part of the graduate degree requirements. These include: master’s Plan A thesis credits (xxxx-8777) and doctoral thesis credits (xxxx-8888).

RESPONSIBILITIES

Collegiate Units
Review and approve completed graduate degree plans.
Graduate Programs
  • Assist students in completing the graduate degree plan.
  • Review and approve transfer coursework, if any.
  • Review and approve completed graduate degree plans and forward them for collegiate review and approval.

RELATED INFORMATION

HISTORY

Amended:
August 2018 - Comprehensive Review. Defines the minimum core or unique credits that can be applied toward one University graduate degree. Provides the discretion for individual programs to allow transfer credits. At the discretion of the graduate program, graduate-level course credits taken as an undergraduate student may now be applied toward the graduate degree.
Effective:
September 2011 - New Policy. Addresses the handling of credit transfers and credits-in-common. Specifies that graduate programs may allow up to a maximum of nine 4000-level course credits, unless the specific graduate program imposes a lower maximum. Allows for Plan A thesis credits to count toward the doctoral degree in the same field if the thesis credits were not applied to the master's degree. Continues to limit the number of credits for the master's and doctoral degrees that may be taken as a non-degree or non-admitted student. Stipulates a minimum number of course credits that doctoral students must take at the University.
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