Graduate students

Requirements for Second Master's Degrees

Policy Number: 100813

Current Policy

Category: Academic » University Requirements



A student may pursue a second Master’s degree at Northern Arizona University (NAU) and apply previously earned NAU credit towards the completion of this degree, adhering to the guidelines outlined in this policy. Students should discuss their options with the department or a graduate advisor before applying to a new Master’s program. 

Reapplication for Admission Is Required

If students have completed one master's degree at NAU, students must reapply for admission through the Graduate College before beginning work on another master’s degree. Additionally, the reapplication process is required if the student wishes to work toward a doctoral degree.   

Units Required for Master's Degree Programs

Each Master’s degree program at NAU requires a minimum of 30 credit units. Many master’s degree programs require more than 30 credit units.

Utilization of Credits earned in the First NAU Master’s Degree

With the approval of the student's advisor and academic unit, a student may petition to use up to 9 units or 25% of course work, whichever is greater, from a previous NAU master's degree to satisfy the requirements for a second master's degree. If a student has earned a master’s degree that houses different emphases, they are not eligible to pursue the same master’s degree with a different emphasis for their second master’s degree. Students may only pursue individual graduate degrees which have a distinct a graduate program plan and are recognized as their own degree. 

Time Limits for Completion

Students must complete all requirements for their master's degree within a 6-year period. Additionally, courses applied to the Master’s degree must have been successfully completed within the 6-year time period required for completing the current degree. 

However, the Graduate College may grant students one extension of time for up to one year to complete degree requirements, with proper approval from the academic unit or program, if there are compelling extenuating circumstances. The reasons for which the Graduate College may grant an extension include, but are not limited to: job relocation, military duty, pregnancy, illness, a serious accident, divorce, or other life-impacting events within the student's immediate household.   

An exception to the 6-year time limit for courses may be granted by the Graduate College, with proper approval from the academic unit or program, through a request in writing to the Associate Dean of the Graduate College. Application of courses beyond the 6-year time limit depend on the nature of the courses, the student’s experience in the workforce, and/or the student’s utilization of their previous coursework. However, faculty within a graduate program/department assume the responsibility to ensure these courses demonstrate the current core learning competencies, expectations, and criteria for the student’s degree or certificate program. The age of the transfer work under consideration, or the year taken, may be a factor in the decision as to whether or not the coursework is admissible into a graduate student’s program. 

To request an extension of the 6-year limit, either for completion of the degree or applying previously earned graduate credit for courses completed beyond the time limit, students must submit a "Petition for Extension of Time Limit for Master's Degree" form to the Graduate College. This form, available on the Graduate College website, must be endorsed by the student's advisor and department chair. The Graduate College Dean or Associate Dean makes the final decision. 

Students can petition for exception

Graduate students may petition for an exception to any academic, non-grade-related, graduate regulation for which no specific appeal or petition process exists. Petitions should be submitted, in writing, to the Associate Dean of the Graduate College. When applicable, the student’s advisor and department chair may endorse the petition letter. In some specific instances, utilizing the Academic Appeal Policy and UGCHP (NAU policy 100103) is more appropriate. 

Students should contact the Associate Dean of the Graduate College for clarification on which process to initiate.

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