Dual-title degree programs

The dual-title degree program consists of two components: an area of study, in which there are graduate course offerings and faculty strength but no degree program, and one or more major degree programs that adopt the area of study and integrate its content into the coursework and milestones required by the major program, including the Qualifying Examination, thesis or dissertation.


The dual-title degree program represents the addition of valuable coursework not currently prescribed in an existing major program. The dual-title area of study cannot exist as a separate graduate degree program. Rather, a major program adopts a dual-title area of study and integrates the content into all milestones required by the major program, such as a Qualifying Examination and a thesis or dissertation. The dual-title degree program, therefore, differs from a minor or a graduate certificate in that these represent additional study in an area other than the major program without any expectation that they will be integrated into required milestones for the major program.

Students may apply to add a dual-title area only after being enrolled in an existing graduate program, and that program constitutes their major program.

Proposals from major programs seeking to adopt a dual-title offering must be approved by the New Programs Committee of the Graduate Council and will be authorized by the dean of the Graduate School.

Guidelines for creating a dual-title program

Proposals for new dual-title degree programs should address:

  • A description of the area, courses available and participating faculty
  • The rationale for the creation of the area
  • Advantages and value to students
  • Enhanced employment opportunities for students
  • Demand by students

Dual-title programs must consist of at least 12 credits and may be substituted for the minor (if required) in Ph.D. programs.

Proposals for new dual-title programs must be accompanied by at least one major program proposing to adopt the dual title.

Proposals for dual-title programs and accompanying adoption proposals must be approved by the Graduate Council's New Programs Committee and authorized by the dean of the Graduate School.

Guidelines for adopting a dual-title program

Proposals for adopting a dual-title area should address:

  • The degree requirements of the major program
  • Identification of the dual-title area courses appropriate to the adopting degree program, including the minimum number of 7000-level and above courses that must be taken in the dual-title area, and any dual-title area activities, such as colloquia and seminars, in which major program students will be expected to participate
  • Identification of dual-title faculty appropriate to the adopting degree program
  • Description of the nature of the dual-title area and how its requirements can be reasonably connected with satisfying the milestone requirements in the major program, such as Qualifying Examinations and the thesis or dissertation. The dissertation project must reflect integration from the dual-title area with the content of the major program
  • Indication that a dual-title degree student's Qualifying Examination committee and dissertation committee will be composed of faculty from the major graduate program, as well as at least one faculty member from the dual-title area of study
  • Advantages to students of integrating the dual-title area into the major program
  • Delineation of the administrative processes by which students will be admitted to and matriculate in the dual-title degree program in a coordinated manner with the major program
  • If appropriate, statement of a provision whereby credit requirements of the major graduate program may be substituted with a set of credits from the dual-title program
  • The Graduate Bulletin copy for the dual-title degree option
  • The graduate student handbook of the major program should describe the dual-title area of study, outlining the nature of the dual-title degree along with the array of courses typically taken. Expectations for participation by dual-title students in activities, such as seminars, that are a normal part of the dual-title area of study must be included. Any courses from the dual-title area that may be substituted for any major program requirements should also be specified. It should be noted that dual-title degree students might require an additional semester to fulfill requirements for both areas of study
  • CIP code for the new dual-title degree program. The school/college/department can consult with the Wayne State Office of Institutional Research and Analysis or U.S. Department of Education's National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) to identify the corect code.

Approval procedures

Before submission to the Graduate Council, a proposal must be approved in its entirety by:

  • Departmental faculty and chair (in non-departmentalized colleges the proposal must be approved in its entirety by the school/college faculty)
  • School/college faculty governing body
  • School/college dean

Upon submission to the Graduate Council, the New Programs and Program Review Committee will review. After approval from the New Programs and Program Review Committee, the proposal is also evaluated and reviewed by:

  • Dean of the Graduate School

Advantages of dual-title programs

Potential dual-title areas of study typically are interdisciplinary, with courses and faculty housed in various departments. When incorporated into an existing program, they provide students with knowledge and skills graduates of traditional programs do not have. Dual-title areas often exist in new and emerging fields, generally where the most significant advances in research occur. Adding such a dual-title area to an existing program will produce graduates who can apply the most current knowledge and who have cutting-edge research skills.

A dual-title degree program thus accrues advantages to the degree program, its students and the dual-title area. The degree program gains an advantage in recruiting because it can offer, in addition to its regular program, the dual-title option that likely is not available in competing programs. Students will make faculty contacts outside their home department and will gain knowledge on the intellectual content and research methodologies of the dual-title area. They also will become familiar with professional organizations and funding mechanisms outside their department. As graduates of the dual-title degree program, they will gain a competitive edge in the job market and will enhance the reputation of the degree program. Finally, the dual-title area will be strengthened by the demand for its courses and faculty from the degree program(s) with which it is associated.

Dual-title degree programs should not be confused with dual or joint degree programs. The latter programs permit the student to earn two separate graduate or professional degrees, and allow for the double-counting of a small number of credits so that the dual/joint degrees may be earned in a shorter time than they would be separately. They do not attempt to integrate the two programs.