Ad Hoc Combined Degrees

Students in The Graduate School are admitted to specific academic programs and are expected to concentrate on their area of scholarship. In some cases, pursuing a secondary master’s degree outside of their area of specialization can enhance their primary area of scholarship. Alternatively, students may pursue a graduate certificate to show expertise in a secondary area. 

13.1 Eligibility

Students may pursue multiple degrees concurrently in more than one program within The Graduate School only under the following conditions:

  • the student has been admitted into an existing combined degree program, or
  • the student has received permission to pursue a secondary master’s degree at the beginning of the proposed plan of secondary study, per the procedure outlined below. 

To receive multiple degrees in The Graduate School, students must satisfy all Graduate School requirements for each credential, and cannot double count The Graduate School’s minimum requirements. Programs may allow double counting courses for work beyond The Graduate School’s minimum requirements. Students seeking a secondary master’s degree must be in good academic standing and be in compliance with all Graduate School policies and milestones. 

When students pursue multiple degrees concurrently that are not part of an existing combined degree program, degrees must be conferred in the same quarter. A student who departs (withdraws, is dismissed, or otherwise discontinued from) the program in which they were originally admitted becomes ineligible for the secondary degree.

A student’s enrollment in courses outside the primary degree area prior to securing all necessary approvals to pursue a secondary degree does not guarantee approval of awarding a degree in that area. A limited number of introductory courses taken prior to formal acceptance into the secondary degree program may be accepted to satisfy graduate degree or residency requirements, if approved by The Graduate School and the secondary program. In no case will more than the equivalent of one quarter (four units) of coursework taken prior to admission into the secondary degree program be counted toward the secondary degree requirements.

13.2 Procedure for Requesting Permission to Pursue an Ad Hoc Combined Degree

To request permission to pursue concurrent degrees outside of an existing combined degree program, students must submit the Permission to Pursue an Ad Hoc Combined Degree form to Student Services that provides:

  • An explanation providing an academic/intellectual rationale for the plan of study;
  • A written description of the student’s plan to fulfill all published requirements for each degree without double counting The Graduate School’s minimum requirement for courses or other work;
  • A statement from the student’s academic advisor(s) supporting the rationale for the secondary degree and confirming that the student is making acceptable progress toward the primary degree and;
  • A statement from the Director of Graduate Study (DGS) for each the primary and secondary degree programs confirming that the outlined plan of study is acceptable and that the student has permission to pursue the degrees concurrently.