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Application of Graduate Credits to Degree Requirements

Policy Contents
Effective Date: September 2011
Last Update: September 2011
Responsible University Officer:
  • Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost
Policy Owner:
  • Vice Provost and Dean of Graduate Education
Policy Contact:
CONSULTED WITH: Faculty Senate, UMD Graduate Council, UMD Administration Office

Printed on: . Please go to for the most current version of the Policy or related document.


This policy governs the application of graduate credit to satisfy the requirements for the following degrees:

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

1. Applying credits from a baccalaureate degree

Graduate credits taken before the award of a baccalaureate degree may not be counted toward a graduate degree.

2. Credits-in-common between University graduate degrees

  1. A maximum of eight graduate course credits may be counted in common between two University master's degrees.
  2. Approved graduate course credits may be counted in common between a University doctoral and master’s degree in the same program.
  3. Plan A thesis (xxxx8777) and doctoral degree thesis (xxxx8888) credits in the same program:
    • Can be counted toward either the Plan A master's or the doctoral degree thesis credit requirement, but not both.
    • may be used to meet the Plan B master's project credit requirement.
  4. Plan B Project credits may count only toward the Plan B master's degree requirements.

3. Transferring graduate course credits from outside the University

Graduate course credits earned at other accredited institutions may be transferred to master’s or doctoral degree plans subject to approval by the University graduate program and the limits described below.  In the case of a transfer from a non-United States institution, graduate course credits to be transferred must have been earned in a program judged by the University graduate program to be comparable to a graduate degree program of a regionally accredited institution in the United States.  Transfer of thesis credits is not allowed.

  • For master’s degrees – A minimum of 60% of total course credits (not including thesis credits) required for a specific master’s degree must be taken at the University. Transferred credits can include a maximum of 12 graduate course credits taken as non-degree seeking or non-admitted status. Transfer of thesis credits is not allowed.
  • For doctoral degrees – Individual programs may determine, on a case-by-case basis, how many transfer course credits doctoral students may apply toward their degree requirement. However, doctoral students must take a minimum of 12 course credits at the University. Transferred credits can include a maximum of 12 graduate course credits taken as non-degree seeking or non-admitted status. Transfer of thesis credits is not allowed.

4. Applying graduate credits across University graduate programs

  1. Graduate course credits earned while enrolled in one University graduate program may be applied to another University graduate program.
    • The number of graduate course credits applied is determined by the graduate program to which the student is applying.
    • Earned master’s thesis credits (8777) and doctorate thesis credits (8888) in one University graduate program cannot be applied toward the thesis credit requirement for another University graduate program.
  • A maximum of 12 graduate course credits from other University registration categories, such as non-degree seeking or non-admitted students, may be considered for transfer once the student is admitted and enrolled in a graduate program.
  • Graduate programs may accept University 4000-level course credits as graduate courses. A maximum of nine 4000-level course credits may be used to satisfy the doctoral or master’s course credit requirement, but graduate programs may impose a lower maximum.


For approved joint or dual degree programs, items 1, 2a, and 2b do not apply. 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 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.


There are no procedures associated with this policy.


To apply graduate credits from another college or university to a University graduate degree, use the form and follow the procedures specified by your college. For students in programs formerly in the Graduate School, use the Degree Program Form and follow the instructions included on the form.

(Note: The development of automated procedures to replace the Graduate School Degree Program Form is ongoing. Until students, faculty, and staff are notified that any new procedures are in place, students will continue to use the existing form.)


There are no appendices associated with this policy.



Primary Contact(s)
University of Minnesota - Duluth Questions
Erik Brown


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


There are no specified responsibilities associated with this policy.


There is no related information associated with this policy.


September 2011 - New Policy. Comprehensive Review. 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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Last modified on October 15, 2014