Overview of Required Courses
During a typical semester, most full-time graduate students who are also employed as a TA, PA, or RA take nine credits per semester. According to SoHE policy, 8 credits is the minimum enrollment requirement if you hold an appointment through SoHE.
Please see the Program Requirements Checklist below for the course requirements for obtaining an MS degree.
The MS Program Checklist can be accessed on the MS Forms section of the handbook.
If you have taken graduate-level courses at UW-Madison or at another university that you think may fulfill a degree requirement, see the Course Substitution Process section below.
Selecting and Registering for Classes
Graduate students new to UW–Madison will register for Fall Semester in June/July. Once you have informed UW–Madison of your intent to accept the admissions offer and enroll, the Graduate School will send you an ID number and information on how to register. We strongly recommend that you communicate with your advisor before registering. Using your check sheet and the Course Search & Enroll tool available through MyUW, you and your advisor can plan a course schedule for your first semester and begin to plan for future semesters. Note: If English is not your native language, you may want to take an English language course your first year.
Although many graduate-level classes do not fill early, registering early is very important. Your registration is what establishes your continuance in the program, and it is essential for such things as loan deferment, immigration, disbursement of scholarship awards, assistantship eligibility, and so on.
Before you may register for Independent Study (699 and 999) and Research & Thesis (990) you must obtain the instructor’s permission, and this must be entered into the UW–Madison enrollment system by the SoHE Graduate Program Coordinator. To enroll, give the instructor your name and UW–Madison student ID number, and they will see that you are authorized to go online and register. If you have problems getting into a course, email the instructor of the course. Be sure to note any error code that you receive while trying to register.
Any student who has a PA, TA, or some fellowships (confirm with the SoHE Graduate Program Coordinator) during the previous academic year may take summer classes without paying tuition.
Graduate Certificate Programs
While you are a graduate student in SoHE you are also eligible to obtain a variety of graduate certificates. These certificates can help you establish specific credentials that enhance your professional standing and build important skills and/or areas of expertise. Explore here.
The MS Degree Requirements Checklist is your “snapshot” guide to the requirements of the program. It specifies the credits and courses you need to complete degree requirements. The MS Program Checklist can accessed in the MS Forms section of the handbook.
Your checklist is your guide, your worksheet, and ultimately a graduate program record. You should bring a working draft of the checklist with you for review to all advising meetings, with the Faculty Director or Graduate Program Coordinator.
Your completed and signed Checklist becomes an official record documenting your completion of SoHE MS program and Graduate School requirements. Your faculty advisor/the MS Faculty Director, will approve and sign this checklist at the end of your final semester. Checklists must be completed, signed, and placed on file with the MS Faculty Director in order for the SoHE Graduate Program Coordinator to order the warrant that is necessary for successful degree completion and graduation. Any substitutions to the requirements as specified on the Checklist require approval (see below).
Course Substitutions and Coursework from other Universities
In certain circumstances, a student can request that a similar course they have taken (or want to take) be substituted for a required course. The MS Faculty Director will review the substitute course and determine whether the substitution is approved. Course substitutions can be requested only when a substitute course meets the objectives of the requirement.
If a course from another university is being substituted, documentation that the student took the course (a transcript) must be in the student’s file, in addition to a syllabus. Since previous coursework is part of the student’s application materials, it is likely that the documentation has already been shared with the SoHE Graduate Program Coordinator; if not, it should be submitted with the request by the student. Approvals are generally communicated via email between the student, Faculty Director, and Graduate Program Coordinator. The Graduate Program Coordinator will save the record in the student’s electronic file. Only approved course substitutions should appear on the student’s completed Checklist.
Graduate Courses from other Universities
In general, if you want to use a graduate-level course that does not appear on your UW–Madison transcript to meet a requirement (e.g., content/theory) you should email the MS Faculty Director the request and include the syllabus from the completed course. However, in addition to determining whether your courses can be used to fulfill program course requirements, you need to fulfill the Graduate School’s minimum credit requirements—for MS students 16 credits must be graduate-level courses taken as a graduate student at the UW–Madison.
MS Program Roadmap
Timeline to Degree Completion
The timeline for degree completion varies considerably from student to student. Part-time students take longer than full-time students. There are many legitimate reasons that students take longer to complete their degree. Our job, however, is to make sure that delays in progress are not based on poor planning, avoidance, being “stuck,” or experiencing other problems that we could help with. The key is to keep in close contact with your advisor and the SoHE Graduate Program Coordinator. Another key is to read this Handbook cover-to-cover and the Graduate School’s website link-to-link. Know the requirements and plan accordingly. Develop a sensible and sustainable schedule for yourself.
“Full-time” study is defined by the School of Human Ecology as being enrolled for a minimum of 8 credits per semester during the fall and spring semesters.
For part-time students, years/semesters toward degree can be calculated on the basis of credit hours rather than semesters or years in the program.
Satisfactory Progress Toward Degree Completion
The Graduate School specifies minimum criteria for “satisfactory progress.” The requirements include maintaining a 3.0 GPA and considering Incomplete (I) grades to be unsatisfactory if they are not removed during the next fall or spring semester in which a student is enrolled. A student may be placed on probation or suspended from the Graduate School for low grades or for failing to resolve incompletes. A student may not graduate from the university if these requirements have not been met.