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Professional Degree Policies

GCAC-700-AA Degree Requirements - Professional Master's Degrees

Purpose: to define the minimum requirements for obtaining a professional master’s degree.

Academic Goal: to ensure that all professional master’s degrees adhere to a minimum set of credit requirements along with an approved culminating experience.

Scope: all professional master’s degree programs.



The Graduate School recognizes a difference in purpose, which is reflected in the requirements, for two types of master’s degrees: academic and professional. Of the master's degrees conferred, the Master of Arts and Master of Science are academic in nature and strongly oriented towards research and the creation of new knowledge. In contrast, the professional master's degree emphasizes practical application of knowledge for solving problems.

A degree is not conferred for a mere collection of credits. A well-balanced, unified, and complete program of study is required, including the preparation and acceptance of a high-quality approved culminating experience; additional requirements will be defined by the graduate major program faculty.

Policy Statement

  1. The minimum credit requirements for a professional master’s degree are:
    1. 30 credits at the 400, 500, or 800 level.
    2. At least 18 credits at the 500 or 800 level.
    3. At least 6 credits of 500 level.
  2. A significant culminating experience or other mechanism to demonstrate evidence of analytical ability and synthesis of material is required. For professional degrees, the culminating experience may take any form approved by Graduate Council, including but not limited to an internship, an exhibition, a production, a comprehensive examination, or a capstone course. The specific form of the culminating experience is proposed by the major program and approved through the Graduate Council curricular review process.

Revision History

Adapted from the Graduate Bulletin: June 2018

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