3.11 Master's Degrees in Doctoral Status

A. Multiple Master's Degrees to Students in a Master's Program
B. Master's Degrees to Students in a Doctoral Program
C. Master's Degrees in Same Field as Doctoral Degree
D. Master's Degrees in Different Field as Doctoral Degree
E. Multiple Master's Degrees to Students in Doctoral Status
F. Credit-Hour Requirements for Master's Degree while in Doctoral Status
G. Completion of Master's Requirements while in Doctoral Status
H. Eligibility for Graduate Student Support Plan Tuition Support

A. Multiple Master's Degrees to Students in a Master's Program
Students admitted and enrolled in a master's degree program at NC State University may pursue additional master's degrees simultaneously provided that:

  1. the Director of Graduate Programs (DGP) of each department approves the pursuit of multiple degrees;
  2. the requirements for each master's degree are met;
  3. a Plan of Work for each master's degree is approved by the Graduate School;
  4. 18 hours are unique to each; and
  5. all other Graduate School rules are met for each degree, including time limits.

B. Master's Degrees to Students in a Doctoral Program
Graduate programs have the option of making their master's degrees available to students pursuing doctoral degrees in other programs without the students transferring to the master's programs.

  1. The graduate program may require students to transfer into the master's program from the doctoral program (or other master's). Once a doctoral student transfers into a master's program, the student must complete the requirements for the master's degree before returning to the doctoral program.
  2. Graduate programs may also permit doctoral students to obtain a master's degree without transferring into their program. In this instance, the student remains in the doctoral program while pursuing the requirements for a master's degree.
  3. International doctoral students who wish to obtain a master's degree in a different curriculum from their doctoral curriculum with the intention of applying for practical training in the field of the master's curriculum must transfer to the new curriculum at the master's level in order to be eligible for practical training in that field.
    • (a) Students in F-1 status who transfer to a new curriculum at the master's level must have a new Form I-20 issued prior to the transfer.
    • (b) International doctoral graduate students must communicate his/her intentions to the DGP in each department as well as to the Office of International Services (OIS). Failure to do so could result in a violation of non-immigrant status and subsequent ineligibility for any type of employment.

C. Master's Degrees in the Same Field as the Doctoral Degree
A student admitted to a doctoral program at NC State may be awarded a master's degree in the same field as the doctoral program provided that all of the following conditions are satisfied. [Recommended by the Administrative Board of the Graduate School and approved by the Dean of the Graduate School on 12/3/98.]

  1. The student does not already have a master's degree in the same field.
  2. All Graduate School, College, and Department/Program requirements for the master's degree are satisfied.
  3. A master's Plan of Work, an approved patent agreement (via Student Self-Service in the MyPack portal) specific to the master's degree and a Request for a Permit to Schedule the Master's Oral Examination or a Request for Option B Graduation Checkout must be submitted by the DGP.
  4. All deadlines for graduation as a master's student are met.
  5. The master's degree is awarded no later than the sixth semester of a full-time student's doctoral program. (Exceptions may be made for master's programs that require more than 54 hours.)
  6. The minimum of 72 credit hours required for the doctoral degree is met, including the credits used for the master's degree.
  7. The time limit for completing all requirements for the Doctor of Philosophy and Doctor of Education degrees is defined in Section 3.4.

D. Master's Degree in a Different Field from the Doctoral Degree
Graduate programs have the option of making their master's degrees available to students pursuing doctoral degrees in other programs without the students transferring to the master's program. In order for doctoral students to get degrees in master's programs that make this option available, the following conditions must be satisfied. [Recommended by the Administrative Board of the Graduate School and approved by the Dean of the Graduate School on 9/28/00.]

  1. The student may not already have a master's degree or a doctorate in the same field of the proposed master's.
  2. The student's request must be approved by the DGP of the student's doctoral program, the DGP of the proposed master's program, and the Graduate School.
  3. The student must have a Doctoral Plan of Work that has been approved by the Graduate School.
  4. The student must make normal academic progress toward the fulfillment of the doctoral degree requirements, consistent with the doctoral Plan of Work. (This may consist only of doctoral research credits.) The student may take no more than two courses, or six credit hours, per semester in the discipline of the master's degree.
  5. The minimum of 72 credit hours is required for the doctoral degree, including the credits used for a master's degree at NC State University in the same field.
  6. The time limit for completing all requirements for the Doctor of Philosophy and Doctor of Education degrees is defined in Section 3.4.
  7. All Graduate School, College and Department/Program requirements for the master's degree, including prerequisites and seminars, must be satisfied. It is the responsibility of the student to know these requirements and to ensure that they are satisfied.

The DGP for the master's program must notify the Graduate School that the student has met, or will meet in the current semester, the requirements for the master's degree by submitting a master's Plan of Work, an approved patent agreement (via Student Self-Service in the MyPack portal) specific to the master's degree and a Request for a Permit to Schedule the Master's Oral Examination or a Request for Option B Graduation Checkout. The request should include the names of the members of the master's advisory committee (or advisor for Option B programs) and a Plan of Work or a list of courses that are to be used to satisfy the master's requirements.

It is the responsibility of the student to meet all deadlines for graduation with a master's degree. The master's degree is awarded no earlier than the sixth semester of the student's doctoral program.

If a master's program does not choose the option of awarding master's degrees in a different field from the doctoral degree, doctoral students in another program who wish to pursue this master's must transfer from the doctoral program to the master's program in order to earn the master's degree. Upon completion of the master's degree, they must transfer back to the doctoral program to complete the doctoral degree.

International doctoral students who wish to obtain a master's degree in a different curriculum from their doctoral curriculum with the intention of applying for practical training in the field of the master's curriculum should not follow the procedures outlined in this document. Instead, they must transfer to the new curriculum at the master's level in order to be eligible for practical training in that field. Students in F-1 status who transfer to a new curriculum at the master's level must have a new Form I-20 issued prior to the transfer. Therefore, international doctoral graduate students who hope to apply for practical training in the new curriculum must communicate their intentions early to the DGPs in both departments as well as to the Office of International Services (OIS). Failure to do so could result in a violation of nonimmigrant status and subsequent ineligibility for any type of employment.

E. Multiple Master's Degrees to Students in Doctoral Status
The following rules apply for students who are admitted to the Graduate School at NC State in a doctoral classification and who wish to pursue master's degrees in different fields from the doctoral degree or master's degrees previously earned. [Recommended by the Administrative Board of the Graduate School and approved by the Dean of the Graduate School on 1/18/01.]

  1. The student may not already have a master's or doctoral degree in the same field of the proposed master's degrees.
  2. The student's request to pursue a master's degree in a field other than the field of the doctoral program must have prior approval by the DGP in the doctoral field, the DGP of the proposed master's program, and the Graduate School. Requests to pursue master's degrees while in doctoral status must be submitted and approved prior to initiating the master's program. All requests from students and DGPs must be submitted in writing and signed.
  3. For each master's degree, the student must have a doctoral Plan of Work as well as a master's Plan of Work approved by the Graduate School prior to pursuing each master's degree. The student's intent must be declared and approved in advance.
  4. For international students who wish to do practical training in the master's field, it will be necessary to officially transfer to the department or program that will be awarding the master's degree and then transfer back to the department or program that will grant the doctorate. The student should consult with the Office of International Services prior to transfer.
  5. The student must make normal academic progress toward the fulfillment of the doctoral degree requirements each semester per the doctoral Plan of Work. (This may consist of only doctoral research credits).
  6. The student may take no more than two courses, or six credit hours, per semester in the discipline of any master's degree. A credit hour overload will not be approved if two degrees are being pursued simultaneously.
  7. The student must satisfy all requirements for each master's degree separately including prerequisites, seminars, and the completion of a minimum of 30 credit hours. All deadlines for graduation with a master's degree in a given semester must be met. It is the responsibility of the student to know these deadlines and to ensure that they are met.
  8. The DGP for the master's program must notify the Graduate School that the student has met, or will meet in the current semester, the requirements for the master's degree by submitting a Request for a Permit to Schedule the Master's Oral Examination or a Request for Option B Graduation Checkout.

F. Credit-Hour Requirements for Master's Degree while in Doctoral Status

  1. Credit-hour requirements for students continuing from a master's program to a doctoral program at NC State:
    • (a) The student must complete a minimum of 72 credit hours at NC State to obtain the doctoral degree.
    • (b) The student may apply relevant credit hours taken to fulfill one master's degree (30-36 credit hours depending on the master's program and the relevancy of the courses) towards the 72-hour requirement for the doctoral degree.
    • (c) Students who elect to pursue more than one master's degree may transfer up to 12 relevant credit hours from previous master's degree(s) to any subsequent master's degree(s).
    • (d) A minimum of 18 hours unique to each master's degree beyond the first degree must be included in each master's Plan of Work.
    • (e) A minimum of 36 credit hours must be unique to the doctoral Plan of Work. Combining credit hours from two or more master's degrees is not permitted in order to satisfy the total doctoral credit hour requirement; i.e. courses from the master's degrees are not additive.
  2. Credit-hour requirements for students who have a master's degree from another university when they enter the doctoral program at NC State:
    • (a) A student with a relevant master's degree from another university must complete a minimum of 54 hours while in doctoral status;
    • (b) A student may apply up to 18 relevant credit hours from the master's degree from another institution towards the 72 credit hours required for the doctoral degree;
    • (c) A student who elects to pursue additional master's degrees at NC State must complete a minimum of 36 hours that are unique to the doctoral degree and a minimum of 18 credit hours that are unique to each master's degree (up to 12 relevant credits may be transferred from previous master's);
    • (d) Stated another way, no more than 18 relevant credit hours that are counted towards master's degrees at NC State may be counted as part of the 54 credit hour requirement for the doctoral degree.

G. Completion of Master's Degree Requirements while in Doctoral Status

  1. The DGP for the master's program must notify the Graduate School that the student has met, or will meet in the current semester, the requirements for the master's degree by submitting
    • (a) a master's Plan of Work,
    • (b) an approved patent agreement (via Student Self-Service in the MyPack Portal) that includes the names of the members of the master's advisory committee (or advisor for Option B programs), and
    • (c) a Plan of Work or a list of courses that are to be used to satisfy the master's requirements.
  2. It is the responsibility of the student to meet all deadlines for graduation with a master's degree. The master's degree is awarded no earlier than the sixth semester of the student's doctoral program.

H. Eligibility for Graduate Student Support Plan Tuition Support
The number of semesters of eligibility for tuition support under the Graduate Student Support Plan does not change as a result of the student's electing to pursue a master's degree in another program along the way to the Ph.D. The Graduate School maintains current online information and requirements for the Graduate Student Support Plan.