Master's Degrees

Master’s degree candidates must fulfill the requirements of the Division of Graduate Studies, which are listed below. Students must also complete the additional requirements set by the school or department in which the degree is to be awarded. These are described in the departmental sections of this catalog. 

Credit Requirements

To earn a master’s degree, students must complete a program of study totaling no fewer than 45 graduate credits. As noted above, some departments require more than 45 credits.

  • The credits must be taken after admission to the master’s degree program or approved for transfer (see Transferred Credit below).
  • Of the total, 24 credits must be in graded courses taken at the UO and passed with a grade point average (GPA) of 3.00 or better.
  • A minimum of 30 credits in the major are required for a master’s degree with a departmental major. 
  • At least 9 credits in courses numbered 600–699 must be taken in residence at the University of Oregon. The master's program in Economics is exempt from this requirement. 
  • Students working toward a master’s degree with thesis must register for a minimum 9 credits of Thesis (503). Credit for thesis is given pass/no pass.

Language Requirements

There is no university-wide language requirement for master’s degrees. Departments and programs have the option of requiring or not requiring one or more languages other than English (LOTE). If one or more languages are required, the degree-granting unit is responsible for monitoring and enforcing that requirement.

Second Master’s Degree

Students who earned the first master’s degree from the University of Oregon may earn a second master’s degree in another field by taking at least 30 graduate credits, of which 24 must be in courses taken for letter grades, after official admission as a master’s degree candidate in the new major at the university. This provision does not apply to a second master’s degree in the Interdisciplinary Studies Program (ISP). Although the second master’s degree may be permitted with reduced credits, complete records of the student’s graduate-level study must reflect the equivalent of all requirements for completion of the degree as described in the University of Oregon Catalog. Schools and departments may require more than this 30-credit minimum or deny the request. If the first master’s degree is from another institution, the second master’s degree program must comply with the standard university master’s degree requirements (a minimum of 45 credits). Students pursuing two graduate degrees at the same time must file a concurrent degree form, available on the Division of Graduate Studies website.

Accelerated Master’s Programs (AMPs)

The Division of Graduate Studies offers exceptional undergraduate students in selected majors the opportunity to earn both a bachelor's degree and master's degree in as few as 5 years. Accelerated Master's Programs (AMPs) are for high-achieving undergraduates in participating majors who plan to continue in a master’s program. To determine if this is an option in your major, see the list of currently approved AMPs on the Division of Graduate Studies website. 

Each AMP sets its own admission criteria and internal admissions processes. Interested students should inquire with the program offering the AMP regarding admission. 

AMP Policies: 

  • Students must be classified as Juniors or Seniors in order to apply to an AMP. 
  • AMP students must be classified as Seniors in order to begin taking graduate-level courses.  
  • Typically, AMP students may take up to 24 graduate credits while classified as undergraduates, some of which may be used toward both bachelor’s and master’s degree requirements. However, AMP requirements and credit limits vary from program to program. Check with the department offering the AMP for more information about requirements specific to that program. 
  • Students will be charged at the undergraduate rate and retain eligibility for undergraduate scholarships during this transition year. 
  • Students will be considered undergraduates until the bachelor’s degree is conferred, at which point they will be officially admitted as master’s students, be charged at the graduate tuition rate, and be eligible for graduate assistantships. 
  • While classified as undergraduates, even if taking graduate classes, students will be subject to all undergraduate policies, including Academic Standing rules for undergraduate students. 
  • Students who have been accepted to an accelerated master’s program must complete all of their bachelor’s degree requirements and graduate within 12 months of the first day of the quarter in which they begin taking graduate courses as part of the accelerated program. Students who fail to do so will undergo a progress review and may be dismissed from the AMP. 
  • A student who is admitted to an AMP and subsequently decides not to continue into the master’s program may still count up to 24 graduate credits earned as an undergraduate toward the bachelor’s degree, but they may not use those graduate credits toward a UO graduate degree should they decide to return to the UO at a later date. 
  • 400-level courses will not be allowed to count toward minimum master’s degree requirements, even by petition and even if the associated 500-level course would have been accepted toward master’s degree requirements. In the case of a student who has already taken a 400-level course and the corresponding 500-level course is required for the master’s degree, the student may be required to take the 500-level course. Once accepted to an accelerated master’s program, the designated AMP coordinator for the program should work closely with students to ensure registration in the appropriate graduate-level courses. 

Time Limit

Students must complete all work for the master’s degree within seven years, including transferred credits, thesis or terminal project, and all examinations. On-leave status does not extend the seven-year deadline except when the leave is for the student’s serious health or medical condition or for parenting needs during the 12 months immediately following a child’s birth or placement in the home. 

Residency and Enrollment Requirements

For a master’s degree, the Division of Graduate Studies requires that a minimum of 30 credits (applicable to degree requirements) be taken at the University of Oregon during at least two terms of study. A second University of Oregon master’s degree also requires a minimum of 30 credits and at least two terms of study at the University of Oregon. Individual schools or departments may have additional residence requirements.

Students enrolled in a graduate degree program must attend the university continuously, except for summers, until all the program’s requirements have been completed, unless on-leave status has been approved. For more information, see Course Registration Requirements and LimitsContinuous EnrollmentGraduate Residency, and On-Leave Status under General Requirements and Policies.

Transferred Credit

Graduate Credit from Other Institutions

Graduate credit earned while enrolled as a graduate student at another accredited college or university may be counted toward the master’s degree under the following conditions:

  1. Total transferred credits may not exceed 15 credits
  2. Courses must be relevant to the degree program as a whole
  3. The student’s home department and the Division of Graduate Studies must approve the transfer
  4. Grades earned must be A+, A, A–, B+, B, or P
  5. The courses may not have been used to satisfy the requirements for another degree
  6. Transfer courses are subject to the seven-year limit for degree completion

Transferred credit may not be used to meet the requirement of 24 credits in University of Oregon graded graduate courses, nor are they used in computing the UO cumulative GPA.

Transfer of Reserved Graduate Credit

Undergraduates who completed graduate-level courses at the University of Oregon under the Reservation of Graduate Credit petition process and who reserve the courses by choosing Option 2 on the petition form may apply up to 12 credits toward the master's degree. 

Course work taken for letter grades (B or better) and P/N courses, if accompanied by the instructor's statement that the passing grade was equal to a B or better, is eligible for consideration. If approved, these courses can be used to satisfy relevant university master's degree requirements. A Request for Transfer of Graduate Credit form (available on the Division of Graduate Studies website) must be filed within two terms of acceptance into a master's degree program and within two years of earning the bachelor's degree. Any credits transferred under this option fall within the 15-credit transfer maximum. 

Other University of Oregon Transferred Credit

A maximum of 15 graduate credits earned at the University of Oregon while classified as a graduate postbaccalaureate student, a non-admitted non-degree seeking graduate student, or a student earning a graduate certificate may later be counted toward the master’s degree (see Graduate Student Types under Division of Graduate Studies), pending school or department endorsement and Division of Graduate Studies approval. This is within the overall 15-credit maximum for transfer. Grades earned must be A+, A, A–, B+, B, or P. A Request for Transfer of Graduate Credit form (available on the Division of Graduate Studies website) must be approved for credits completed under these classifications to be applied to degree requirements.

Examinations and Thesis

The student’s major school or department may require qualifying, comprehensive, or final examinations or any combination of these. The content and methods of conducting such examinations are the responsibility of the school or department.

In some fields, master’s degree candidates must submit a thesis; in others the thesis is optional. A student who writes a thesis must complete the following procedures:

  1. Request information from the major school or department about the various steps involved and the standards expected
  2. Consult the Thesis and Dissertation Style and Policy Manual, available on the Division of Graduate Studies website. Only theses that meet the standards of style and form discussed in that manual are accepted

The advisory committee, appointed by the department, determines the work to be completed in light of the student’s academic background and objectives. The number of committee members is determined by the department. The advisor is expected to be a member of the regular faculty, tenured or tenure-track.

Research Compliance

See Research Compliance in the General Requirements and Policies section of this catalog.

Summary of Division of Graduate Studies Requirements

The following outline lists minimum Division of Graduate Studies requirements for master’s degrees. Specific departmental requirements must also be met before the student is awarded an advanced degree. Credit requirements listed below must be met with graduate credits.

Minimum GPA 3.00
Minimum thesis credits* 9 credits
Time limit for program completion Seven years
Total credit minimum 45 credits
Registration minimum per term 3 credits
Minimum graded credits taken in residence 24 credits
Minimum 600 level credits in residence** 9 credits
Minimum credits in major 30 credits
Minimum credits taken at UO 30 credits

*The school or department specifies whether a thesis is mandatory or optional; however, a student writing a thesis must register for at least 9 credits in Thesis (503).

**The master's degree in Economics is exempt from the 600-level course requirement. 

Interdisciplinary Master’s Degree Programs

Interdisciplinary Studies Program

The Interdisciplinary Studies Program (ISP) is the university’s most flexible interdisciplinary program leading to MA and MS degrees. The program is designed for students with specific, well-articulated goals that cannot be reached through established departmental programs. Although flexibility is allowed in program design, the program must be composed of existing graduate courses from two or three approved master’s degree programs. Detailed requirements are available on the Division of Graduate Studies website. 

Guidelines in the ISP include the following:

  1. A maximum of 15 credits may be used from practicum, field studies, research, and reading and conference courses. Such credit must be distributed across the different areas of the program
  2. The terminal project or thesis consists of 9 credits in either Terminal Project (IST 609) or Thesis (IST 503)
    1. At least 30 of the 45 minimum credits for the degree must be taken after the candidate is admitted to the IS program

Admission is selective. Acceptance into the program is based on background qualifications, the statement of purpose, and the appropriateness and availability of courses and advisors at the university. An applicant who has been denied admission to a departmental graduate program at the university must have departmental permission to use that department as a program area.

Approval must be obtained in writing from each of the two or three advisors, indicating their willingness to serve and their approval of the Tentative Program of Study. One of the advisors must be designated as chair. Prior to being offered admission, approval is also required from the department head or director of graduate studies from each department included in the applicant's program of study. Subsequent changes in the program must be approved by both the advisor in the area involved and the ISP director. More information about the ISP is available on the Division of Graduate Studies website.

Interdisciplinary Studies Program

Program Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this program, students will be able to:

  • Integration of Disciplinary Knowledge: Develop the ability to synthesize knowledge and methods from multiple disciplines to create new knowledge and research questions and address complex problems.
  • Critical Thinking: Enhance critical thinking skills necessary for comprehending, analyzing and evaluating information, theories, and methodologies across different disciplines.
  • Communication: Improve oral and written communication skills to effectively consider and convey complex ideas to diverse audiences in a clear and coherent manner.
  • Research Methods: Acquire proficiency in interdisciplinary research methodologies, including data collection, analysis, and interpretation, in order to conduct rigorous interdisciplinary research projects.
  • Interdisciplinary Collaboration: Foster skills to dialogue and work collaboratively with individuals from different disciplines and communities.
  • Creative Problem-Solving: Cultivate innovative and creative thinking skills to generate novel, interdisciplinary solutions to complex problems.
  • Self-Reflection and Intellectual Growth: Encourage self-reflection and personal growth as an interdisciplinary scholar, and cultural being living within multiple social contexts, recognizing strengths and areas for improvement, and engaging in continuous intellectual development.


The Interdisciplinary Studies Program (ISP) requires a total of at least 45 graduate credits; a minimum of 12 graduate credits in each of two focal departments; a minimum of 12 graduate credits from any department(s); and 9 graduate credits for an integrated terminal project or thesis determined by the student and advisors during the course of study.

Guidelines in the ISP program include the following:

  1. A maximum of 12 credits may be used from practicum, field studies, research, and reading and conference courses. Such credit must be distributed across multiple focal departments (i.e., one focal department cannot consist entirely of these individualized credits)
  2. 9 credits selected from either Terminal Project (IST 609) or Thesis (IST 503)
  3. At least 30 of the 45 minimum credits for the degree must be taken after the candidate is admitted to the ISP program