Grad School Requirements

Graduate School Requirements for M.S. Programs

The Graduate School’s minimum credit requirement for a Master’s degree is 30 credits. At least 50% of credits applied toward the graduate degree credit requirement must be courses designed for graduate work (this includes but is not limited to online, thesis/research, independent study, and practicum/internship credits).
Graduate Coursework can include UW-Madison courses:

  • Numbered 700 above;
  • Numbered 300-699 that are specifically designed for graduate students in a graduate program*;
  • Numbered 300-699 that assess graduate students separately from undergraduate students**; or
  • Numbered 300-699 that have a graduate student enrollment of >50% in any given semester***.

Courses taken as a University Special student are not allowed to count toward the 50% graduate coursework minimum unless taken at the 700 level or above.

*Courses must be explicitly identified by the course’s subject owner as graduate level.

**Courses must always assess graduate students separately from undergraduate students.

***On a semester by semester basis, an individual student may count credits from courses numbered 300-699 that have a graduate student enrollment >50% in that given semester. This must be assessed on a semester by semester basis and cannot be applied as a universal standard if true for one or multiple semesters. The program is responsible for monitoring and tracking course enrollment.

Courses taken for audit or pass/fail, under the 300 level, or in which you receive grades of D or F do not count. You must maintain a cumulative grade point average of 3.00 (on a 4.00 scale).

Academic Policies and Procedures

The Graduate School Office of Admissions and Academic Services developed the Academic Policies and Procedures document (sometimes referred to as “Guidelines” or “Handbook”) to help answer questions about Graduate School academic and administrative policies and procedures. The document is available online and in print. The online version is continuously updated and is the official document of record for Graduate School policies and procedures; changes made to the document are available online. Grad School Academic Policies and Procedures:

In situations where policies have changed during a student’s time of enrollment, the Graduate School and the academic program, together with the student, may elect to enforce requirements that are in the best interest of the student. Please refer to the document or contact Admissions and Academic Services with any questions regarding Graduate School procedures and policies. Academic Policies and Procedures reflects current policies of the Graduate School, the Office of the Registrar, the Office of the Bursar, the Office of International Students Services (ISS), and other university units.

We appreciate feedback regarding the organization and content of this resource. To comment or to receive updated Graduate School Academic Policies and Procedures information, contact us at the Graduate School Office of Admissions and Academic Services, 217 Bascom Hall, 608-262-2433,

The topics in Academic Policies and Procedures are listed alphabetically. Entries are cross-referenced. Also included are tables (see the Appendices) to illustrate payroll benefits and other important information.

This publication addresses only academic issues. The Guide to Graduate Student Life, produced by the Graduate School’s Office of Professional Development and Communications, offers advice about the university and community from a students’ perspective, particularly for new graduate students.