Degree requirements for master's students

Three degree plans

The master's degree is offered under three options described below, though not all programs offer all three. Check with your program of interest to learn what's available. 

The minimum Graduate School requirement for the master's degree with plans A, B, or C is thirty credits, at least twenty-four of which must be taken at the University. If the college, school or department requires more than the Graduate School minimum, their requirements take precedence.

Plan A includes an eight-credit thesis and registration for the department's Thesis Direction course (usually 8999).
Plan B requires an essay of at least two credits and registration for the department's Essay course (usually 7999).
Plan C requires coursework only.

Transfer of credit

Graduate credit may be transferred from another accredited graduate institution provided that the student earns at least 24 credits in residence at Wayne State. Some departments further limit the transfer of credit. The student's advisor must approve the credit as appropriate to the student's Plan of Work.

Eligibility for transfer

  • Credit must be certified as graduate-level.
  • Course grade must be at least a B (3.00).
  • Course cannot have provided credit toward a previous degree.
  • Credit must have been earned within the six-year time limit allowed for the master's degree.
  • Credit earned in quarter hours should be converted to its semester hour equivalent.

Degree candidacy

The applicant shall be advanced to the rank of 'Candidate' upon approval of the Plan of Work by the College Graduate Office. In most colleges candidacy must be authorized by the time twelve graduate credits have been earned or subsequent registration will be denied. For the plan to be approved, students must be officially admitted to the program and have attained a minimum GPA of 3.0.

Following departmental approval, the plan is submitted to the school/college graduate office for approval. The graduate office notifies the Records Office to advance the student to candidacy. 

A candidacy hold is automatically generated for students who have not attained candidacy by the time they accumulate 12 credits. Students will not be able to register until they file a Plan of Work. Once the school/college graduate office receives the Plan of Work, it will remove the hold and will notify the Records Office to advance the student to candidacy.

Time limit

Master's degree requirements must be completed within six years of the date of the first course applied toward the degree. 

Modify or change your current program

Looking to change your program or add a second program? Complete a Change of Status Request. This is for departmental use only and should be submitted to the graduate office of the new program.

Thesis guidelines

The Graduate School performs manuscript format checks and oversees the publication process for master's theses (plan A). Master's essays, however, should not be submitted to the Graduate School for format checks (plan B); these must meet departmental requirements. 

All other master's degree-related functions (e.g., degree  deadlines and certification) are performed by the student's school/college graduate office, not by the Graduate School.

Format check

Immediately following the defense, the thesis manuscript must be submitted electronically for a format check by the Graduate School. 

  • Create an account at Electronic Thesis/Dissertation (ETD) Administrator website of ProQuest/UMI, the publisher of dissertations and theses. 
  • Complete a Publishing Agreement. This is mandatory. The student also has the option to copyright the thesis through the site. It is recommended that they do so. 
  • Then, submit the thesis manuscript as a PDF file. 
  • The Graduate School staff, as the ETD administrator, will notify the student of "changes required" or "manuscript accepted," which requires no format changes.

Submit your signed thesis title page to the Ph.D. Office. Your advisor's signature signifies the thesis is ready for publication. 

Archiving and disseminating the published thesis

Wayne State University Libraries maintains electronic copies of students' dissertations and theses and would like to make these available to the Wayne State community and the general public through Digital Commons @ WSU. Students can control the level of access to their theses via the permission form

Binding the thesis

Students wishing to have their theses bound should find a bindery service. Bohemio Bookbindery provides dissertations bound in the Wayne State University standard format or custom bound in any style desired.