Graduate Degree Planning and Auditing

Master Degree Requirements for Graduation

Before enrolling into classes, a graduate student must contact his/her advisor to arrange for a meeting to review the master degree requirements and prepare a study plan showing the courses intended to be taken from the start to graduation. While enrolled, a graduate student must do a regular self-audit of his/her achievement of the master degree requirements. The major issues and requirements to be attained to are summarized as follows:

Study Plan

  1. You need to acquaint yourself with the master program, research interest areas, and courses at the curriculum page of our master program website. Note that you may also take courses from our online program at, however, they have separate registration and may come at a bit higher cost (~$695 per credit) than normal classroom/campus courses.
  2. Print a copy of the study plan form, or obtain a copy from the CM front desk and start filling the form before meeting your advisor. A copy of the form must be kept updated in your file with the CM Department.
  3. Fill in the study plan proposal form based on the course and degree audit requirements below.

Credit Requirements for Graduation (Degree Audit)

When completing the plan of study form, pay attention to the following:

  1. You need to have a total of at least 45 credits to satisfy the graduation requirements for the Master in CM. All grad courses must be of 2.7 minimum and/or satisfactory (S) to be considered toward the 45 credits of the degree. Also, note the following:
    1. Graduate students may repeat any course. Both the first and second grades will be included in the cumulative GPA. Subsequent grades will not be included, but will appear on the permanent record. The number of credits earned in the course will apply toward degree requirements only once.
    2. You could select courses to be a combination of courses from all the research focus areas and you could add non-cm courses as discussed below
    3. You must maintain a satisfactory performance with 3.0 cumulative GPA to graduate. Failure to do that would trigger the probation procedure over a number of quarters (probation, final probation, and drop).
  2. List any remedial course(s) (if noted in your acceptance letter) in the study plan. Note that any 400 level courses (e.g. those of the remedial courses) will not be counted toward the 45 required credits but will be considered in the GPA calculations (this is standard in UW). Unlike regular graduate classes, to pass a remedial course, then
    1. if the course is graded, then pass with at least 2.0 grade,
    2. if the course is taken as S/NS, then you must obtain 2.7 to be considered as satisfactory “S” (you need GPC or advisor approval for S/NS), or
    3. write a waiver exam and pass at least with 2.0.
    4. If a remedial course is obtained at less than 2.0, then you will have to repeat the course, take an exam(s) waiver, or to take other course(s) in consultation with the GPC or advisor.
  3. Allow for the Core Courses (3 courses = 9 credits); these must be taken as graded credits (S/NS not allowed for core courses),
  4. Allow for a Thesis (9 credits) or Research Paper (3 credits), the choice will affect the number of other credits to take toward the degree, i.e. 27 credits (9 courses if a thesis is selected) or 33 credits (11 courses if a research paper is selected).
  5. You can take non-CM courses from other departments, however, a max of 12 non-CM credits will be counted toward the 45 credits. (The non-CM courses need to be consulted with the advisor before registration to make sure they are within the CM areas of interests).
  6. If you have taken credits under the status of Graduate Non-matriculated (GNM), then only 12 UW GNM credits can be applied to the 45 credit total. Note that regular non-matriculated (NM), i.e. not GNM, will not be considered toward the 45 credits.
  7. Among all 45 credits, at least 18 credits must be numerically graded. S/NS could be taken after consultation and approval from the Graduate Program Coordinator and/or your advisor. You could change to/from S/NS up to the 7th week of the quarter, but also check with UW registration for any rule changes.
  8. You could transfer up to 6 credits from other accredited institutions in the USA if those credits were taken toward a graduate degree that you did not complete. Meaning, the credits could be transferred if they were not used to take other degrees. The transfer needs submitting a petition to the graduate school which will be routed to the GPC.
  9. If you are taking two degrees from two different departments within UW, then each degree must have its own 36 credits that will not be taken toward the other degree. Only credits above the 36 can be shared between the degrees.
  10. Note that credits obtained during the Curricular Practical Training (CPT) will not be counted toward the fulfillment of the 45 credits of the Master degree. We only facilitate taking a CPT to help you in getting industry experience which will help you in your degree. You will need, however, to register for CM499 course, it will be recorded on your transcript, and it will be graded as CR/NC. You will need to write a brief report to your advisor summarizing your work experience so that the advisor can give you the credit for CM499.
  11. Once the study plan is ready, discuss it with your advisor, sign on the plan and give to your advisor. Then, you may start registering for the courses. A copy of the plan will be left in the file and could be adjusted later with the consultation of the advisor.

Research Paper and Thesis

  1. Based on the courses attended, you could select a topic for your research paper or thesis. A topic would be selected in consultation with your advisor, as well. If the selected topic is not in the research areas of your advisor, then you may elect to change to another CM faculty most familiar with your new research topic. From that point, the new advisor will work with you and check your credits toward completion of your degree.
  2. With an unofficial transcript, do audit review to check on the fulfillment of the credit requirements as listed above. Review that with your advisor. If satisfied, then your advisor will report the recommendation to graduate to the Graduate Program Coordinator to communicate it with the Graduate School for final Audit. It is better to prepare a count of all the credits (graded) and non-credits (S/NS and CR/NC), cm and non-cm credits to assist the advisor checking on satisfying the requirements.
  3. Toward the end of your MS study, you need to know the Graduate School deadlines for the “Request to Graduate” and to do that online after consultation with your advisor. Deadlines are here
  4. If you select a thesis track, then in consultation with your advisor:
    1. A thesis committee of at least two faculty members will be selected by your advisor. When the research work is done and getting ready for presentation, the advisor will request a warrant from the Graduate Program Coordinator and get it signed by the committee after approving your thesis work and completion of the degree requirements.
    2. Note that the 9 credits for thesis work (CM700) can be taken over a number of quarters, e.g. 3 credits for 3 quarters. If more than 9 credits are taken, only 9 will be counted.
    3. Check the following UW website for electronic thesis submission
  5. If you select a research paper track, then in consultation with your advisor:
  6. No committee will be required. The graduate student will still need to apply for Graduation.
  7. Based on the research paper outcomes, the advisor will need to recommend/Not recommend graduation to the Graduate Program Coordinator. When the research work is done and getting ready for presentation, the advisor will request a warrant from the Graduate Program Coordinator and sign it after approving your research work and completion of the degree requirements. Only 3 credits of CM600 will be taken toward the paper.