Working with students who want to pursue multiple programs

Increasingly, students are enrolling in multiple programs. Here is a "quick reference sheet" on the rules and regs.

How enrolled students in good standing request to add a program

  • Certificate or Licensure program: Use the Change Program form (PDF, 123 KB). Remember that students CANNOT earn a certificate and a major in the same exact field. (Addictions Counseling and Clinical Mental Health Counseling is OK; Gerontology and Gerontology is not.)
  • Concentration: Request it on the POS (PDF, 101 KB) or Customize Graduate Program  form (PDF, 122 KB).
  • Major (same degree or different degree): Use the Change Program form (PDF, 123 KB).
  • Minor: Request it on the POS (PDF, 101 KB) or Customize Graduate Program form (PDF, 122 KB). Remember that a minor can ONLY be attached to a major (not a certificate) from a DIFFERENT department.

When students submit the Change Program form (PDF, 123 KB), the Graduate School will make a copy of the original admission application and send it to the program for review.

All of these actions require program and Graduate School approval, and you do NOT have to agree! Regarding Graduate School approval: If the student is NOT enrolled and/or NOT in good standing we prohibit adding a second program until enrolled and in good standing.

How much can double count when a student is in multiple programs

  • Two certificates: Any amount can double count, BUT we STRONGLY recommend requiring some coursework unique to each certificate.
  • Certificate+Major: Any amount can double count, BUT we STRONGLY recommend requiring some coursework unique to the certificate.
  • Major+Minor: Any amount can double count, BUT we STRONGLY recommend requiring some coursework unique to the minor.
  • Two majors: Up to 50% of the coursework (calculated using the smaller of the two programs) can double count. However, ALL explicitly required courses for both majors must be taken, i.e., it is UP TO 50%, not a guarantee of 50%. Some majors have little flexibility, and as such it will not be possible to achieve a 50% overlap.

Double majors versus second master's

First a description of the second master's situation:

If a student already has one master's degree (from us or any other accredited school), she can petition the program director to complete another master's degree by taking 30 hours instead of the number of hours usually required (so in many master's programs that would be 30 instead of 36-42 hours).

This must be agreed upon by the program -- and you do NOT have to agree to it at all OR you can agree to a partial waiver instead of all the way down to 30 hours. We have a couple of programs that lead to a professional certification or licensure that deny requests unless the other master's was a very similar program, so it would be reasonable to say no if that is your choice.

If you agree to waive some of the hours in the program, then you would write a memo to the Graduate School for the file indicating how the skills and knowledge in the waived courses were already attained. Typically, a student with a master's has already had a basic research methods course. If the majors are similar, it may be that there are some other basic skill or knowledge courses that could be waived.

Pros and cons to adding a major versus graduating and coming back for a second master's:

  • Adding a major can allow for a more compact program of study, since up to 50% can overlap. BUT the majors in this case must be completed at the same time, and the seven-year clock starts when the first major was begun.
  • Waiting to graduate and then applying for a second major allows the student to have a degree "in hand," which can be helpful in employment and other situations. If the 50% overlap is hard because of the structure of one of the programs, this may be the best approach.