Graduate students

Requirements for Master's Degrees

Policy Number: 100811

Current Policy

Category: Academic » University Requirements



Units Required for Master's Degree Programs

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

Coursework Requirements  

Northern Arizona University expects students to have adequate undergraduate preparation for their intended major. Generally, the student must have at least the equivalent of an undergraduate minor (18 units), and the student's advisor may require that the student take, as a prerequisite for graduate study, any undergraduate course normally required of undergraduate majors in the field.

To earn a master’s degree at Northern Arizona University under the thesis option, students must complete at least 18 units of formal coursework, that is, courses other than such individualized studies as independent studies, directed readings, and research. No 400-level courses may be used toward this 18-hour formal coursework requirement.

To earn a master's degree at Northern Arizona University under the non-thesis option, students must complete at least 24 units of formal coursework—that is, courses other than such individualized studies as independent studies, directed readings, and research.  

The student's program may allow the student to take a maximum of two 400-level courses (6 credit units) at Northern Arizona University as part of the student's master's program with prior approval by the student's program committee. Students must file the "Override Authorization—Audit/Class Links/Out of Career form" (available on the Registrar's Office website), to get credit for a 400-level course in their master's degree.

In addition, students must satisfactorily complete coursework required for their graduate program with a grade point average of 3.0 or better. See the Registration, Grading, and Academic Policies chapter of this catalog for more information.  

Time Limits for Completion

Students must complete all requirements for their master's degree within a six-year period. If students take courses from other institutions and transfer the courses to their program at Northern Arizona University, the courses must be also taken within the six-year period. (For more information about transfer credit, see the "Petition for Transfer Credit (Master's Programs)" form, which includes an explanation of regulations governing transfer credit for Master's Degrees. 

The University may grant students one extension of up to one year to complete degree requirements if there are compelling extenuating circumstances. The reasons for which the university may grant an extension include, but are not limited to, job relocation, military duty, pregnancy, illness, a serious accident, divorce, or other personal tragedies within the student's immediate household.  

To request an extension of the six-year limit, students must submit a "Petition for Extension of Time Limit for Master's Degree" form to the Graduate College. This form, which is available from the Graduate College, must be endorsed by the student's advisor and department chair. The final decision is made by the dean or associate dean of the Graduate College.

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