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Master's Degree Requirements


To provide the general and common requirements for all master's degrees offered by the Lawrence and Edwards campuses.

Applies to: 

All Lawrence/Edwards campuses graduate students.

Policy Statement: 

The following requirements and expectations apply to all master’s degrees offered by the University of Kansas Lawrence and Edwards campuses. These are in addition to any requirements established by the Kansas Board of Regents, degree program, school, or College.


All master’s programs must adhere to the Higher Learning Commission's (HLC's) requirements concerning master's degree program administration. All master's programs must be comprised of at least 50% coursework designed for graduate credit and offered at the 700-level or above.


A master’s degree requires at least one (1) year of graduate work or its equivalent. The minimum credit hours required for a master’s degree is 30, though some degrees may require more. With permission of the department and the school or College graduate division, it is sometimes possible to complete a 30-hour master’s degree with as few as 24 hours if the student enters the program especially well-prepared and maintains a superior grade-point average. In the case of joint degree programs, the coordinating program committee would review requests for a reduced credit-hour degree. 
All master’s programs must entail a coherent program of study leading to competency in the field. Work for a master’s degree is concentrated in the major area with only minimal coursework (usually no more than six [6] hours) permitted outside the major department or program. In the case of interdisciplinary programs, work may be concentrated in more than one (1) major area.

Master’s degree requirements may include one (1) or more culminating efforts representing work achieved outside of specific course requirements. These include master’s final examinations (oral and/or written), theses, projects, performances, or a combination of these. If required by the degree program, any such culminating efforts must comply with the Master’s Final Exams policy. Other master’s degrees may be comprised of coursework alone.

Degree Completion

Graduate students enrolled in master’s degree programs must be enrolled for the semester in which they complete the master’s degree requirements unless they meet the early graduation deadline. To meet the early graduation deadline, master’s students must have been enrolled the preceding semester and complete all degree requirements before the deadline established by the Office of Graduate Studies. In such cases, the student is not required to enroll for that semester and the degree will be conferred at the end of that semester.  

Students earning a master’s thesis degree must have completed at least one (1) hour of thesis or thesis equivalent enrollment before the master’s degree may be awarded.  

Completion of degree requirements must be accomplished in accordance with the published Master’s Degree Program Time Constraints.


Graduate Studies

Approved by: 
Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor
Approved on: 
Friday, June 12, 2009
Effective on: 
Friday, June 12, 2009
Review Cycle: 
Annual (As Needed)
Master's degree requirements
Change History: 

07/25/2023: Updated links, policy formatting.
07/21/2022: Consolidation of policies and further defining of expectations for coursework and culminating projects.
02/22/2019: Technical edit - KU adheres to HLC rules.
02/09/2015: Graduate Studies updated hyperlinks and added required policy sections.

Academic Categories: 
Graduation & Degrees

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