The Graduate School’s minimum credit hour requirements for a degree, instituted by the Graduate Faculty Executive Committee, ensures that graduate degrees meet accreditation standards.
A credit hour is an amount of work represented in intended learning outcomes and verified by evidence of student achievement that is an institutionally established equivalency that reasonably approximates not less than:
(1)One hour of classroom or direct faculty instruction and a minimum of two hours of out of class student work each week for approximately fifteen weeks for one semester, or the equivalent amount of work over a different amount of time; or
(2)At least an equivalent amount of work as required in paragraph (1) of this definition for other academic activities as established by the institution including laboratory work, internships, practica, studio work, and other academic work leading to the award of credit hours.
Alternatively, a credit hour is defined as the learning that takes place in at least 45 hours of learning activities, which include time in lectures or class meetings, in-person or online, laboratories, examinations, presentations, tutorials, preparation, reading, studying, hands-on experiences, and other learning activities; or a demonstration by the student of learning equivalent to that established as the expected product of such a period of study.
In all cases, learning in for-credit courses is guided by a qualified instructor and includes regular and substantive student-instructor interaction.
The Graduate School requires students successfully complete the following minimum number of graduate credits to earn a degree:
The doctoral degree minimum graduate degree credit requirement may be achieved with credits earned at UW-Madison before or after dissertator status. The credits earned at UW-Madison and applied towards a master’s degree, a doctoral minor, or taken as a dissertator will count towards the related doctoral graduate degree credit requirement.
Some programs may require more rigorous credit requirements than the Graduate School’s minimum requirements as indicated in the Graduate Guide.