UNC Charlotte Academic Policy and Procedure: Second Degrees

I. Executive Summary

This policy and procedure outlines how to change or add a second graduate degree program.

II. Policy and Procedure Statement

Change of Degree Program

To change from one degree program to another, a graduate student must complete the application for admission to the new program, pay the requisite application fee, submit a Statement of Purpose, and provide supporting documentation as specified in the Graduate Catalog in a timely manner and be recommended by the Graduate Program Director for admission to the new program of study, with the Graduate School rendering the final decision. The student should also provide the Graduate School with a letter indicating withdrawal from the initial degree program.

Note: Students on F-1 or J-1 visa status who change from one degree program to another may be required to submit proof of sufficient financial resources, especially if the change to another degree program requires the issuance of a new Form I-20 or DS-2019.

Earning a Second Degree

A student is permitted to earn a second graduate degree subject to the following conditions:

1) no work applied to a previously awarded degree may be applied to the new degree program

2) the student must be admitted to a degree program different from that of their previous graduate degree(s)

3) the student must successfully meet all requirements for the new degree

Dual Master’s Degrees

In certain instances, it may be possible for a student to obtain dual degrees in two master’s programs through the development of an integrated curriculum. A dual master’s degree requires a special arrangement and should be viewed as atypical to standard practice. No degree program is obligated to enter into such an arrangement.

Although other restrictions may apply, basic admission and degree requirements are specified below:

The student must apply to each program separately and be admitted to both by the start of the third semester. No admission requirements established by the Graduate School or by either individual program may be waived. For example, if one degree requires acceptable scores for the GRE and the other the MAT, the applicant must take each standardized exam to be considered for admission to both degrees.

1) Once admitted, the student must develop a suitable plan of study that is acceptable to both programs and to the Graduate School. This plan of study must be done within the first semester of a student’s matriculation in the Graduate School and in conjunction with Graduate Program Directors. The plan of study must be forwarded to the Graduate School for review and approval.

2) In cases where one program offers a concentration, the dual degree will replace the concentration and no concentration will appear on the student’s transcript.

3) The student’s advisory committee must have representation from both degree programs. If there is no advisory committee, the student must have two advisors; one from each program.

4) The number of required credit hours for both degrees must not be less than 75% of the total minimum hours required to complete each degree separately. For instance, if degree program X requires 30 credit hours and Y 30 credit hours, a proposed dual degree should at a minimum require 45 credit hours.

5) The director of each degree program must agree on which courses may be applied to both sets of graduation requirements.

6) The student must complete the capstone requirements for both programs. For example, if program X requires a written thesis and program Y requires a comprehensive exam, the student must meet both degree obligations.

7) If there is a compulsory qualifying exam in each curriculum, it may be possible for the student to take a single exam as long as the examination committee agrees that the assessment covers sufficient background information for each discipline. If only one program requires a qualifying exam, the student is obligated to take the exam.

8) If the student withdraws or is suspended from one of the participating programs, the dual degree arrangement is automatically nullified.

9) All standard policies relating to transfer of courses, time to degree, residency requirements, and minimum GPA required to graduate, apply to any dual degree arrangement.

10) All of the coursework in the combined program of study must be completed before the student can apply for either of the degrees.

11) No dual degrees will be awarded retroactively.

III. Definitions

  • Dual/joint degree – Involves a student’s working for two different University degrees in parallel, either at the same institution or at different institutions (sometimes in different countries), completing them in less time than it would take to earn them separately. The two degrees might be in the same subject area (especially when the course is split between countries), or in two different subjects.

IV. Policy Contact(s)

V. History

  • Established: June 11, 2014
  • Revised: March 29, 2019 [Memorandum of Agreement form changed to Approval to Offer Dual or Joint Degree Partnership form]
  • Revised: May 7, 2019 [Updated process to include Curriculog]

VI. Related Policies, Procedures, and Resources

VII. Frequently Asked Questions

  • Where is this policy and procedure referenced?
    The policy and procedure is published on the Academic Policies & Procedures webpage of the Provost website and in the Degree Requirements & Academic Policies section of the Graduate Catalog.
  • Which students are covered under this policy and procedure?
    This policy and procedure applies to all graduate students at UNC Charlotte.