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.

Cooperative & Special Degree Programs

Multidisciplinary Committee-Directed PhD

The multidisciplinary committee-directed PhD program is designed to meet the needs of select, highly qualified doctoral students with unique needs and interests that cannot be met by a single existing program. The program crosses traditional disciplinary boundaries and opens new areas of instruction and research.

If you are considering this option, understand that although you must comply with all general Graduate School requirements for the PhD, your specific program of coursework, independent study, and research will be highly individualistic. Throughout the degree program, you must work very closely with your entire supervisory committee. This committee helps you select courses and activities designed to meet your goals, examines your progress at various phases (e.g., preliminary examination, dissertation proposal hearing), and assumes all the responsibilities of a department or program faculty in a conventional program. For more information, contact the Doctoral Specialist at

Exchange Programs

Exchange Program Registration
If you are considering taking courses under the Marquette or MCW exchange agreement, please be aware that their registration calendars are different from UWM’s, so it is a good idea to begin the process early.

If you need to apply as an non-degree student at Marquette, please do so as soon as possible. For information and a link to the application form, please visit the Marquette Graduate School Website or the Marquette Graduate School of Management website. More details about Marquette registration will be available soon.

The Medical College calendar in particular is much shorter than UWM’s, and there is a significant fee for late registration. Spring registration begins November 1st and ends November 30th. If you need to apply for non-degree status at MCW to take a course, please do so as soon as possible.

Visit the MCW Admission Website for a link to the online application form. If you need assistance with the process, please contact Angela Gord in the Registrar’s office at

UWM/Medical College of Wisconsin Joint Graduate Studies Program

The UWM Graduate School and the Medical College of Wisconsin each have accredited MS and PhD programs. Both institutions have entered into an agreement permitting students to take courses and use the library and laboratory facilities at both schools. This formal affiliation affords unique opportunities to the institutions’ faculties and students. Little duplication exists between the graduate degree programs of the two schools. Using the resources of both institutions results in programs that strengthen the educational missions of the two schools.

Approval must be granted by both institutions before you may participate in this program. For more information about the procedures for participation, contact Chris Parks in Graduate Student Services at 414-229-6332 or

Marquette University/UWM Cooperative Graduate Student Exchange Program

This exchange program enables graduate degree students in good standing to take courses that are not offered at their home institution without transferring and without any increase in tuition. Both institutions seek to help graduate students obtain appropriate coursework.

Approval must be granted by both institutions before you may participate in this program. For more information about the procedures for participation, contact Chris Parks in Graduate Student Services at 414229-6332 or

Minnesota/Wisconsin Reciprocity Agreement

If you’re a Minnesota resident, the tuition reciprocity agreement allows you to avoid non-resident tuition at UWM. Under the program, graduate students pay whichever state’s resident tuition rate is higher.

Applicants are asked to apply electronically. You can also contact the Minnesota Office of Higher Education at 800-657-3866 or write to Reciprocity, Office of Higher Education, 1450 Energy Park Drive, Suite 350, St. Paul, MN 55108.

You may also contact the UWM Office of the Registrar at (414) 229-3796. A certification year runs from July 1 through June 30.

If you are not certified by the date fees are due, you must pay non-resident tuition and fees; the appropriate amount will be refunded upon certification by the Minnesota Office of Higher Education.

Will You Be Writing a Thesis?

If your master’s program requires a thesis, it must comply with the Graduate School’s Thesis and Dissertation guidelines, 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.

International students should contact ISSS for registration requirements.

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.