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POLICY
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ADMINISTRATIVE POLICY

Credit Requirements for Master's and Doctoral Degrees

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 http://policy.umn.edu for the most current version of the Policy or related document.

POLICY STATEMENT

This policy governs the credit requirements for the following degrees:

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

1. Credit requirements for master’s degrees

  1. Master’s degrees must consist of the following minimum credits:
    1. Plan A degrees: 10 thesis credits and a minimum of 20 graduate-level course credits.
    2. Plan B degrees: a minimum of 30 graduate-level course credits, including Plan B Project credits as defined by each college.
    3. Plan C degrees: a minimum of 30 graduate-level course credits.
  2. No collegiate unit or program may require more than:
    1. 36 credits with a combination of course and thesis for a master’s Plan A
    2. 36 credits with a combination of course and Plan B project credits for a Plan B, and
    3. 48 course credits for a master’s Plan C.
  3. Thesis credits may be taken for the master’s Plan A at any time during a student’s degree program.
  4. A minimum of 6 credits is required for a master’s level minor.

2. Credit requirements for doctoral degrees

  1. Doctoral degrees must consist of a minimum of 48 credits: a minimum of 24 graduate-level course credits and a minimum of 24 thesis credits. Course credits are intended to provide doctoral students the necessary intellectual and professional foundation for their thesis projects, future career and professional activities.
  2. No collegiate unit or program may require more than 72 credits with a combination of course and thesis credits for the completion of the doctoral degree.
  3. Thesis credits may be taken at any time after admission to a doctoral program; programs have the discretion to determine when it is academically appropriate for students to take these credits. 
  4. A minimum of 12 credits is required for a doctoral level minor.

3.   Exceptions

Collegiate deans or the appropriate campus Vice Chancellor may request exceptions from the Sr. Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost to items 1b and 2b based on accreditation requirements, national standards of the field, interdisciplinary nature of the program or similar arguments. Collegiate deans or the appropriate campus Vice Chancellor may petition the Provost for an exception to the 24 thesis-credit minimum in item 2a on behalf of doctoral programs that do not require dissertations.  The petition should show that the exception conforms to national standards in the field and that appropriate additional credits (course credits, internships, project credits, etc.) will replace the 24 thesis credits.

Effective Date

New academic programs are subject to the above requirements. Colleges/departments must revise existing curriculum to comply with this policy by fall semester 2013, or obtain approval for exception (see 3 above).

REASON FOR POLICY

This policy provides a framework for curriculum development that balances coursework, research training, and independent scholarly work.

PROCEDURES

There are no procedures associated with this policy.

FORMS/INSTRUCTIONS

APPENDICES

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

ADDITIONAL CONTACTS

Subject
Contact
Phone
Fax/Email
Primary Contact(s)
612-625-6977
612-625-6532
University of MN - Duluth
218-726-6246

DEFINITIONS

Course Credits
Course credits may include directed studies, lab rotations, internships, practica, and colloquia.
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 predominately coursework and 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

RESPONSIBILITIES

Colleges and Programs
Restructure program requirements to conform to this policy by the effective date. Request exceptions from the Sr. Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost to items 1b and 2b based on accredidation requirements, national standards of the field, interdisciplinary nature of the program or similar arguments.

RELATED INFORMATION

There is no Related Information associated with this policy.

HISTORY

Effective:
September 2011 - New Policy, Comprehensive Review. Establishes the minimum and maximum credit requirements for Master's Plan A, B, and C degrees and for Doctoral degrees. Provides a framework for curriculum development that balances coursework, research training, and independent scholarly work. Eliminates the requirement for outside coursework in view of the trend towards interdisciplinary curricula within many programs. Programs are given the option to require a minor or supporting program where warranted by educational objectives. Outlines a process by which collegiate deans may request exceptions.

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Last modified on September 3, 2013