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Home » Rackham Graduate School Academic Policies » 6. Dual Degree Programs

6. Dual Degree Programs

A number of arrangements exist for students to pursue two U-M graduate degrees simultaneously. Dual degree programs allow a student to combine two graduate or graduate-professional programs, at least one of which is a Rackham master’s or doctoral program, and may include a non-Rackham professional degree program. Students undertake complementary and simultaneous programs of study through streamlined curricular arrangements that allow limited double-counting of credits (section 6.2). Dual degree programs lead to two different degree citations on the transcript and two separate diplomas. Information about dual degree programs is available online.

A student in a Rackham doctoral or master’s program must complete at least one term of coursework in good academic standing before requesting admission to a dual degree program. Students pursuing any combination of master’s degrees must complete an Dual Admission Application (formerly called Add a Degree or Certificate Application), and, in accordance with the policy for double-counting credits (section 6.2), submit the appropriate “Dual Degree Course Elections” form.

6.1 Student-Initiated Dual Degree Programs

A student may seek approval for an individualized U-M dual degree program that is not among those already approved by the graduate school. A dual degree program may not include a student-initiated single degree program which already combines study in two programs. Student-initiated dual degree programs are reviewed on an individual basis and must be approved by both graduate programs and the graduate school.

Students may request dual degree programs in the following combinations:

  • a doctoral degree in one field of specialization and a master’s degree or certificate in another field (a dual degree course election form is not required);
  • two master’s programs;
  • a master’s and a Rackham certificate of graduate studies program (students may overlap a certificate of graduate studies program with no more than one master’s degree program); or
  • a degree in the graduate school and a post-baccalaureate degree in a professional school of the university (e.g., M.A. and J.D.). Students must meet all requirements of both programs. If the units assess different tuition and fees for a term in which a student is taking courses in both units, the student will be charged at the higher rate.

6.2 Double-Counting Credit Hours for Dual Degree Programs

Students in dual degree programs may ask to double-count a limited number of credits toward the requirements of both degrees by submitting a “Dual/Joint Degree Election Form” no later than the third week of the term in which the second degree will be completed. Double-counting rules specific to each dual degree program are found on the Rackham website. For double counting credits for certificates, see section 7. The following general rules apply for double counting credits between two master’s programs.

  • Double-counted courses must be taken within five years of the first date of enrollment of the current degree program.
  • At least half of the minimum required credits for each Rackham degree must be earned in the Rackham program under a Rackham registration and counted solely for that degree. For example, a student enrolled in a 36-hour Rackham master’s program may not apply more than a combination of 18 transfer and/or double-counted credits toward the degree requirements.
  • A program may overlap with only one other program for the purpose of double- counting credits. Credits may never be used for three or more programs; if a student seeks a third certificate or degree, it must stand alone.
  • Programs may limit credit double-counting below the maximum set by the graduate school, but may not allow credit double-counting above this limit. Some programs do not allow credit double-counting.

The maximum number of credits that may be double-counted is determined by adding the minimum number of credits required for each program and dividing by six, rounding any fraction down to the nearest whole number. For example:

Double Count Example Table
Minimum credit hours required for Degree A 30
Minimum credit hours required for Degree B 36
Total 66
Maximum number that may be double-counted 11

For a doctoral student who wishes to use some credits toward a master’s in another program, faculty in the master’s program will decide how many may apply toward the master’s degree. No course numbered 990, 995, or with “doctoral,” “dissertation,” or “preliminary” in the title may be counted toward a master’s degree.

Credits for a single course may not be split; a course must be double-counted in its entirety or not at all.