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Degrees, Graduate Studies


To describe the graduate degrees awarded by the University of Kansas.

Applies to: 

Graduate Students

Policy Statement: 


Degrees are awarded three (3) times each year, in August, December, and May. Degrees for each academic year are conferred formally at the annual commencement in May. Degree candidates are not eligible to graduate if the graduate grade-point average is lower than 3.0 on all courses acceptable for graduate credit. Only doctoral candidates who have fulfilled all of their degree requirements by the deadline date for graduation in May are allowed to participate in the May doctoral hooding ceremony.

Students who are working toward two degrees must complete degree requirements for each degree. Coursework may not count toward fulfilling degree requirements for more than one degree.

Graduate students may not be awarded an additional KU degree with the same name and degree code as a previously awarded degree from KU. This rule applies to the completion of different degree tracks, concentrations, and subspecialties within a given degree. This rule does not prohibit students from earning additional master’s or doctoral degrees in another discipline.

Master's Degrees

KU grants traditional Master of Arts and Master of Science degrees, as well as 15 professional master’s degrees that have developed out of these traditional arts and science degrees.

Master of Arts and Master of Science

Historically, most of the master’s degrees granted at KU have been the Master of Arts and Master of Science degrees. This fact conforms to the traditional liberal arts background out of which most U.S. graduate schools developed. The requirements for these degrees are generally concentrated in one area or major discipline.

Professional Master’s Degrees

KU grants a number of professional master’s degrees, most of which are offered through the professional schools. These degrees are Master of Science in Education, Master of Accounting, Master of Architecture, Master of Business Administration, Master of Civil Engineering, Master of Construction Management, Master of Engineering, Master of Fine Arts, Master of Health Services Administration, Master of Music, Master of Music Education, Master of Occupational Therapy, Master of Public Administration, Master of Public Health, Master of Urban Planning, and Master of Social Work. Consult the chapter pertaining to the appropriate professional school for detailed descriptions of all professional master’s programs.

A current list of all master's degrees is available through the Graduate Studies Academics page.

Doctoral Degrees

KU offers nine (9) graduate doctoral degrees: Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.), Doctor of Audiology (Au.D.), Doctor of Education (Ed.D.), Doctor of Engineering (D.E.), Doctor of Musical Arts (D.M.A.), Doctor of Occupational Therapy (O.T.D.), Doctor of Nursing Practice (D.N.P.), Doctor of Physical Therapy (D.P.T.), and Doctor of Speech-Language Pathology (S.L.P.D.). The programs that offer these degrees are administered by the several schools and colleges through their departments and Graduate Divisions, from admission through final recommendation for degree award.

Doctor of Philosophy

The degree of Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) is the highest degree offered by the university. It is awarded for mastering a field of scholarship, for learning the methods of investigation appropriate to that field, and for completing a substantial piece of original research. In addition to preparing research specialists, the process of earning a Ph.D. shares certain goals with liberal education: putting order into human experience, fostering a love of learning for its own sake, instilling respect for human values, integrating various human powers into a process of creation, and making vital, in many fields at least, a sense of history.

Although the courses and research leading to the Ph.D. are necessarily specialized, the attainment of this degree should not be an isolated event in the enterprise of learning. The Ph.D. aspirant is expected to be a well-educated person with a broad base of general knowledge, not only as preparation for more advanced work, but also as a means of knowing how the chosen specialty is related to other fields of human thought.

To give depth and breadth to their doctoral programs, many departments require some work in a minor field or at least an articulated selection of extra-departmental courses. Because of the diversity of the fields in which the Ph.D. is offered, and the variety of needs and interests of individual students, the degree does not have a specific requirement for a minor. However, the Ph.D. aspirant is encouraged to plan an integrated program, under departmental direction, that includes courses outside the major field.

Specialist in Education

The degree of Specialist in Education is offered through the School of Education and may be earned as a concentration on the basis of two (2) years of graduate work (which can include an appropriate master’s degree or equivalent). Information on this degree, including the concentration in which it may be earned, can be found in the School of Education chapter.

Combined Degrees

Several combined degrees are granted in programs meeting the requirements of the graduate master’s or doctoral degree and the professional post-baccalaureate degree. Approved programs include those for the degrees of:

  • M.A. or M.S. in basic medical science fields with the M.D.
  • M.A. with a major in American Studies with M.U.P.
  • M.A. with a major in Geography with M.U.P.
  • M.A. with a major in East Asian Languages and Cultures, Economics, Global Indigenous Nations Studies, Philosophy, or Political Science with J.D.
  • M.B.A., M.H.S.A., M.P.A., M.S. in Journalism, or M.U.P. with J.D.
  • MA with a major in Political Science with J.D.
  • M.B.A. with Master’s in Management from ESC Clermont, France
  • M.B.A. with M.A. in area studies (East Asian languages and cultures; Latin American studies; or Russian, East European, and Eurasian studies)
  • M.B.A. with Pharm.D.
  • M.H.S.A. with B.S. in health information management
  • M.P.A. with M.U.P.
  • M.S. in Nursing with M.H.S.A. or M.P.H.
  • M.D. with M.P.H.
  • M.D. with M.H.S.A.
  • Ph.D. in applied behavioral science with M.P.H.
  • AudD/PhD
  • M.D./PhD in Bioengineering

Office of Graduate Studies

Approved by: 
Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor
Approved on: 
Wednesday, June 24, 2009
Effective on: 
Wednesday, June 24, 2009
Review Cycle: 
Annual (As Needed)
degrees, graduate degrees, graduate studies, master's degrees, doctoral degrees
Change History: 

07/06/2023: Formatting, changed approved to Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor, updated links.
01/10/2023: Formatting.
03/24/2017:  Added SLPD to list of doctoral degrees offered.

Academic Categories: 
Graduation & Degrees

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