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Rackham Graduate School will close for the Thanksgiving holiday at 3:00pm on Wednesday, November 26 and we will open again at 8:00am on Monday, December 1.

6. Master’s Degrees

Rackham offers free-standing master’s degree programs in addition to master’s degrees awarded to students en route to the doctorate.

Credits earned before admission will not automatically be applied toward master’s degree requirements, and must be reviewed by both the graduate program and by Rackham. Students may apply for dual degree (section 7) and certificate of graduate study programs (section 8) but may not propose a student-initiated single-degree master’s program.

Time Limit

A student in a free-standing master’s program is expected to complete all work within five years from the date of first enrollment in the program. Students exceeding this time limit must file a petition for modification or waiver of regulation with Rackham OARD. Petitions must describe explicitly the amount of work remaining and a timeline for completion. A student who fails to complete degree requirements within five years may be withdrawn and required to apply for readmission (section 3.3.5).

Residency Requirement

Master’s students must complete at least one-half of the minimum required credit hours registered as a Rackham student on the home campus (i.e., the campus on which the degree program is administered). Rackham does not require that these credits be concentrated in a certain number of terms, but programs may have such a requirement. Courses taken on a visited (audited) basis do not fulfill the residency requirement.

Minimum Credit Hours

Master’s degrees require between 24 and 72 credit hours of graduate-level coursework, depending on the graduate program. Transfer credits must be approved by the student’s program and by Rackham OARD (section 4.2) and must be officially listed on the University transcript to be counted toward this requirement. No 990, 995 or other course with “doctoral,” “dissertation,” or “preliminary” in the title may be counted toward a master’s degree. Visited (audited) courses may not be counted.

Cognate Requirement

Rackham recognizes the value of intellectual breadth in graduate education and the importance of formal graduate study in areas beyond the student’s field of specialization. Cognate courses are those that are in a discipline or area different from a student’s field of study, but are related or connected with some aspect of this field. Cognate coursework must be approved by the graduate program, and may be satisfied by:

  • Completing 4 credit hours of cognate coursework in approved graduate-level courses with a grade of B- or better (graduate programs may have additional cognate requirements).
  • Using coursework within the same department or program but in a subfield different from the student’s own (a course in a student’s program that is cross-listed as a course in another program may satisfy the cognate requirement, and, in this case, the graduate program should notify Rackham OARD).
  • Using credit officially transferred from another institution (section 4.2) in another field of study.
  • Completing graduate coursework at another institution that meets the expectation of the cognate requirement without officially transferring the credit to the transcript. The student must provide Rackham OARD with an official transcript, including the courses and credit hours, and the graduate program should notify Rackham OARD. These courses do not apply toward the minimum requirement for the degree and do not appear on the University transcript.

Additional Program Requirements

In various fields of specialization, master’s programs may specify additional requirements. These may include additional graduate-level coursework, reading knowledge of a foreign language, work-experience or practicums, thesis or research essay, and/or a final oral or written examination.

Application for Degree

A student who has completed all work must use Wolverine Access to apply for graduation (degree). Deadlines for each term are published by Rackham OARD. Students must apply for graduation by the published deadline to have their names published in the commencement program. A student who fails to complete all requirements during the term in which the degree application is submitted must reapply to be considered again for the degree. Master’s diplomas are not distributed at commencement but are mailed.