University Graduation Requirements

Degree Program Requirements

All graduate degree programs require a minimum of 30 credits of graduate course work (500 level and higher) in the area of specialization, with at least 50% of the minimum number of credits required in the degree program earned in 700 level courses or higher.

General requirements of programs are described in this catalog under degree programs and in the sections concerning specific disciplines and specializations. While faculty advisors are responsible for assisting students in the development of their programs, it is the student’s responsibility to know and to meet all the requirements for a specific degree.

Degree Program Plan/Audit

Students admitted to a graduate degree program will have an electronic degree audit available through CampS, which will include general University requirements, as well as program specific requirements.  The degree audit can be viewed as an interactive online degree audit or PDF; the PDF version of the degree audit is recommended as it contains more information, such as petitions.  Please note that in-progress courses will be treated as if already completed on the degree audit.  If a program is without an electronic degree audit, a student must file a Graduate Degree Program Plan.  This degree plan must be filed by the student and approved by the student’s program advisor, Graduate Program Director, College Dean, and the Dean of Graduate Studies by the completion of the first 15 graduate credits. An approved program plan must be on file prior to scheduling a written or oral comprehensive exam, or applying for graduation.

Student Petitions

Graduate students may petition the Graduate Dean for review of decisions concerning their degree requirements or academic standing. The petition must be in writing and must include justification for the petition, such as extenuating circumstances and pertinent facts not available for consideration in the initial decision, and it may require the completion of a form.  To petition course work, University or degree requirements, a Graduate Program Change eForm is required and can typically be initiated by the student. For more unusual petitions, such as an extension of time to complete degree requirements, or a prior approval for a transfer course, a student should consult their program advisor or the Office of Graduate Studies.

Culminating Experiences

Most graduate programs require some kind of culminating experience.  It might be a thesis, research project, internship, written or oral comprehensive examination, portfolio, etc.  Program specific requirements may be found within this catalog under degree program requirements, or they will also appear on a student's degree audit, if required.   Below are some of the culminating experiences that are overseen by the Office of Graduate Studies.

Written Comprehensive Examination

Many graduate degree programs require successful performance on a written comprehensive examination toward the close of the student’s work for the degree. The written comprehensive examination consists of questions over broad areas of study within the field and/or over the student’s area of specialization. The student is expected to demonstrate knowledge and skills appropriate to the master’s level in integrating facts, concepts, and arguments from diverse sources into a systematic, well-reasoned, well-written narrative.

The comprehensive examination is prepared and evaluated by the graduate faculty of the department(s) in the student’s area of specialization. The scoring/grading standard is determined by the department(s) and will be made available to the student prior to the exam, upon request.

A student may take the written comprehensive examination during or after the semester in which all courses in the area of specialization are completed. Within the first week of the term, students must notify the Graduate Program Director in writing of their intention to take the examination.  The Graduate Program Director may accept or decline late requests from students. The examination is administered by the graduate program no later than the eleventh week of the semester during the academic year and four weeks prior to the end of the summer session. The result of “satisfactory” or “unsatisfactory” is reported to the Graduate Dean not later than seven working days afterward, and the Graduate Dean notifies the student in writing not later than three working days after receiving the report from the Program Director.

A student whose performance is unsatisfactory may repeat the examination at the next regularly scheduled administration; students are not permitted to take the examination more than once in the same term. A student who has taken the examination twice with unsatisfactory results will be academically dismissed from the program.

Students should consult the timetable published by their graduate program for the exact date when the examination will be administered during a specific term.

Project or Portfolio

A project can be a research paper, creative project, portfolio, non-research-based paper, or field-based project that results in a contribution to knowledge in one’s area of expertise.  Generally, a project differs from a thesis in terms of the depth of work.   A committee may, or may not, be involved in the project.  

As part of degree requirements, a minimum number of project credits may be required. With the approval of their advisor, students may repeat these courses multiple times until they complete the project, although a limited number of credits may be applied toward a degree. The mark of "PR" rather than a grade is recorded for some project credits. Credit and a grade of “S” are recorded for these courses upon satisfactory completion of the project.

Oral Examination

In programs which require it, the oral examination may be the official oral defense of the student’s thesis, it may be an extension of the written comprehensive examination, or it may focus on the student’s research project or the area of specialization.

Oral examinations must be successfully completed at least 10 days prior to graduation. The oral examination must not be held until the student has satisfactorily completed the written comprehensive examination and/or, if appropriate, has had the thesis or project approved by their advisor.

For students who are defending a thesis, the oral committee must consist of at least three members of the graduate faculty and must include a member of the graduate faculty from outside the student’s department(s) of specialization. For those completing a non-thesis oral exam, the committee must consist of at least one member with graduate faculty status, and at least two other members of the faculty or instructional academic staff who hold at least a master’s degree and have qualifying experience relevant to the exam topic. Programs may require that all oral committees meet the qualifications of those defending a thesis.

The committee is appointed by the Graduate Dean upon the advice and recommendation of the advisor and Program Director in the student’s area of specialization. The chair of the oral committee (typically the thesis or program advisor) reports the results of the examination as “satisfactory” or “unsatisfactory” to the Graduate Dean. A “satisfactory” result is reported if a majority of the committee vote in favor of reporting “satisfactory.”

A student whose performance is unsatisfactory may repeat the examination at a time scheduled by the committee and approved by the Graduate Dean. A student who has taken the examination twice with unsatisfactory results will be academically dismissed from the program.


A thesis is an extensive original research paper/creative project that results in a significant contribution to knowledge in one’s area of expertise. The student works with a full graduate faculty committee from the beginning through the completion of the thesis in order for the work to be as robust as possible.  

For degree programs requiring or allowing the option of a thesis, a description of acceptable topics and the precise nature of the requirements is provided in the departmental program descriptions. As part of their degree requirements, students completing a thesis should register for a minimum number of thesis credits (courses numbered 799). With the approval of their advisor, students may repeat these courses multiple times until they complete the thesis, although a limited number of credits may be applied toward a degree. The mark of PR rather than a grade is recorded for thesis credits (courses numbered 799). Credit and a grade of “S” are recorded for these courses upon satisfactory completion of the oral examination (defense) and thesis. Unless some other guide is specified by the department, the latest edition of The University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire Thesis Manual governs the writing and form of the thesis. The thesis manual may be found within "Forms and Documents" on the Graduate Studies website. At least one1 copy of the unbound, approved, final typed thesis must be submitted to the Graduate Dean no later than one week prior to the last day of classes of the semester or summer session in which the student plans to graduate. Please refer to the Graduate Studies Timetable on the Graduate Studies website for exact deadlines. A student may be academically dismissed from a program as a result of unsatisfactory progress on the thesis.


Each candidate for a graduate degree must apply for graduation via MyBlugold CampS by the end of the first week of classes of the semester or summer session during which the student expects to complete requirements for the degree. Graduate students must be admitted in “full standing” to a specific degree program, and be currently enrolled, to be eligible for graduation.

Students who have completed all enrollments for credits required for the degree and are working only on a thesis, project, and/or taking comprehensive examinations are required to enroll for “graduation only” (courses numbered 798 or 898) or another graduate credit during the semester in which they will be completing these degree requirements for graduation. The enrollment fee for “graduation only” will be equal to the established fee for one graduate credit.

Commencement Exercises

Candidates for graduation are encouraged to attend commencement ceremonies, which are held two times during the calendar year: at the close of the fall and spring semesters of the academic year. Caps, gowns, and hoods must be worn by all graduates.  Details about the upcoming commencement ceremonies can be found on the Graduation/Commencement website.

In order to participate in a commencement ceremony, students must file an application for graduation and must meet at least one of the following conditions:

  1. completion of all requirements for the graduate degree, or
  2. current enrollment in the courses necessary to complete all requirements, or
  3. completion of all degree requirements with the exception of a mandatory internship or other field placement course requiring no more than six credits.

Students who will complete all requirements for the degree during the first Three-Week Summer Session are August graduates, but may request permission to attend the May commencement ceremony. Students completing all requirements for the degree in January may attend the prior December ceremony; and students completing all requirements in August may attend the following December ceremony.

Licensure to Teach

The MST-Reading and the degree programs in Communication Sciences and Disorders, Library Science, and School Psychology, lead to initial licensure, add-on licensure, or administrative licensure.

A licensure plan form is available from the department in which the student is seeking certification. A copy of this form must be filed in the Field Experience, Licensing and Certification Office (Centennial 3102). It is recommended that the plan be filed early in one’s program so that it can be evaluated for the inclusion of all licensure requirements. Licensure requirements are subject to change depending on when one applies for a license.

All licensure programs, except the MST-Reading, require either a student teaching or internship assignment. In addition, students must demonstrate content area proficiency through either earning a minimum 3.0/4.0 GPA in content courses or through obtaining a passing score on the appropriate Praxis II/ACTFL exam.  A passing score on the Foundations of Reading Test (FORT) is required for licensure as a Reading Teacher and Reading Specialist. The standardized examination and passing score shall be determined by the State Superintendent. Application forms for these assignments are available from and must be filed in the Field Experience, Licensing and Certification Office (Centennial 3102). Students must apply for field experience assignments one year in advance. Applications must be filed by the last day of final examinations in December for a summer or first-semester placement or by the last day of final examinations in May for a second-semester placement.

Failure to meet application deadlines may result in a delay of the student teaching or internship assignment.

Candidates who satisfactorily complete all requirements in a teacher licensure program may ask the University to recommend them for teaching licenses. A College of Education and Human Sciences graduate who desires to teach in Wisconsin will apply for that license using the WI Department of Public Instruction’s (DPI), ELO (Electronic Licensing Online).

Upon completion of all program and University requirements, a student’s information will be forwarded to WI DPI verifying program completion, (including the completion of all required tests), that a degree has been awarded, and what programs the teaching candidate shall be licensed in. Candidates will then apply for their license, using a credit card (debit cards are not accepted) and after processing, will access their account and print their own license.