Summary of Master's Degree Minimum Requirements


Master's degree candidates must fulfill the requirements of the Graduate School and the additional requirements set by the school or department.

The following outline lists minimum Graduate School requirements for master's degrees. Specific departmental requirements must also be met before the student is awarded a master's degree. Credit requirements listed below must be met with graduate credits.


Total credit minimum 45 credits
Minimum credits in major 30 credits
Minimum credits in residence 30 credits
Minimum graded credits taken in residence 24 credits
Minimum 600-level credits in residence 9 credits
Minimum thesis credits (if completing a thesis) 9 credits
Minimum GPA 3.00
Language requirement M.A. only
Time limit for program completion 7 years
Registration and continuous enrollment 3 credits per term

*Plus additional requirements as specified by school or department


Total Credit Minimum    

To earn a master's degree, students must complete an integrated program of study through either a departmental discipline or a program of interdisciplinary studies totaling no fewer than 45 graduate credits.

Some departments require more than 45 credits. The credits must be taken after admission to the master's degree program (conditional or unconditional) or approved by petition (See Transfer Credit).

Minimum Credits in Major    

A minimum of 30 credits in the major are required for a master's degree with a departmental major. Students pursuing interdisciplinary master's degrees may have different requirements; contact your department or the Graduate School for details. 

Minimum Credits in Residence    

A minimum of 30 credits (applicable to degree requirements) be taken at the University of Oregon over the course of at least two terms of study. Individual schools or departments may have additional residence requirements. 

Minimum Graded Credits Taken in Residence 

A minimum of 24 credits must be University of Oregon graded (i.e., NOT Pass/No Pass) credits.

Note: A few programs are exempt from this requirement: 

  • Architecture
  • Interior Architecture
  • Landscape Architecture
  • Community and Regional Planning
  • Art
  • Geography


Minimum 600-Level Credits in Residence

At least 9 credits in courses numbered 600-699 must be taken in residence.

Minimum Thesis Credits

The school or department specifies whether a thesis is mandatory or optional. For the thesis option, a minimum of 36 credits of course work and a minimum of 9 credits of Thesis (503) is required. Credit for thesis is given pass/no pass. In your final term, you must register for at least 3 credits, at least 1 of which must be in 503 Thesis. Exceptions to final term registration requirements are made in certain cases--click here for details.

Minimum GPA

Graduate students must maintain at least a 3.00 grade point average (GPA) in all graduate courses taken with graded option. Departments may require a higher minimum GPA. The accumulation of more than 5 credits of N or F grades, regardless of GPA, is considered unsatisfactory.  Details are available on the Grades and Incompletes page.

Language Requirement: Distinction Between M.A. & M.S. Degrees

The M.A. degree requires second year level of proficiency in a second language as required for the B.A. degree (see B.A. requirements in the UO Catalog for details). Competency may be demonstrated by either a standardized test or with adequate undergraduate course work. Language competence must be demonstrated within the overall seven-year limit for completion of a master's degree. The student's major department may establish a higher level of proficiency or a different method of determining that level. There is no language requirement for the M.S. and professional advanced degrees unless the department so specifies.

Time Limit for Program Completion 

All requirements for the master's degree must be completed within a seven-year time period. The seven-year time will begin with the term of admission to the master's program. For example: a master's student admitted in Fall 2002 will have a completion deadline of Summer 2009.

The beginning date of the seven-year time period will be adjusted to an earlier date to include any graduate credits, approved for transfer into the program, that were taken before the date of admission. For example: a master's student admitted for Fall 2002 who has approved transfer credits taken at a previous university in Fall 2000 will have a completion deadline of Summer 2007.

The language requirement for the Master of Arts, whether you choose a course or an exam, must be completed within the seven-year time limit.

Registration and Continuous Enrollment

Master's students are expected to maintain continuous enrollment for a minimum of 3 credits each term until all degree requirements have been completed, unless on-leave status has been approved. For more information see the Continuous Enrollment Policy here.

Some departments may require full time enrollment. Students are expected to become familiar with departmental policies regarding enrollment and satisfactory progress.

Research Clearance for Master's Thesis, Project or Doctoral Dissertation

All graduate students using human or animal subjects in their research for a thesis, project or dissertation must obtain permission (and a protocol number) from either the Committee for the Protection of Human Subjects (CPHS) or Animal Welfare Services before beginning data collection. For more information, see Research Compliance Services.

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