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Professional Master's Degree - FAQ

A professional master’s degree must include the following: 1. a professional component that may include internships or cross training; 2. the inclusion of one or more employers in the development/design of the professional master’s; and 3. educational content that is distinct from a master’s research/scholarship degree.

General Questions

1. What if we want to take advantage of differential fees and tuition?
Contact the Associate Provost for Finance and Administration ( The request for differential fees and tuition MUST be made PRIOR to the program proposal moving forward to the college level for approval. The Associate Provost will meet with program representatives and, if the Provost’s office is willing to approve the request for differential fees and tuition, will come to an agreement with the unit and provide the proposer with an email describing the agreement that has been made. The proposal must include the email from the Associate Provost for Finance and Administration if differential tuition/fees is being requested.

2. How would you categorize a “professional master’s degree”?
Per Senate Rule 9.14.1, a professional master’s degree is a type of master’s degree.

3. What University Calendar for academic events and deadlines applies to professional master’s degrees?
Students seeking a professional master’s degree, just like traditional master’s students, will follow the University Calendar, specifically the dates outlined by the Graduate School.

4. What is a full-time course load for students enrolled in professional master’s degrees?
The language in Senate Rule 9.11 describes a professional master’s degree as a type of master’s degree, so professional master’s students will also be subject to the minimum nine credit hour full load to which traditional master’s students are subject.

5. Which registrar is responsible for the transcript of students in professional master’s degrees?
Professional master’s students, just like traditional master’s students, will work with the University Registrar for transcripts.

6. Who is the ‘responsible dean’ for the students enrolled in professional master’s degrees?
Students seeking a professional master’s will be treated like traditional master’s students in this regard – the responsible dean for administrative matters will be the Dean of the Graduate School.

7. For professional master’s degrees, does the student academic appeal process at the college-level include the Graduate School (as is the case for degrees that report to the Graduate School)?
Because professional master’s students are graduate students, subject to the administrative control of the Graduate School, their academic appeal process will be through the Graduate School.

8. Can the admissions criteria for professional master’s degrees differ from traditional master’s degrees?
Yes. The admissions criteria are determined by the program, as approved by the Graduate Council, the Senate Admissions and Academic Standards Committee, the Senate Council, and the University Senate.


9. What is the college home of the professional master’s degrees?
Professional master’s degrees are no different than any other master’s degree in this regard. All master’s degrees are homed in the college of the department proposing the degree.

10. How should I describe the Faculty of Record?
If the faculty qualifications associated with the professional graduate degree program differ from national norms and the traditional standards of faculty excellence, the proposer should describe how such qualifications differ and why they differ. Proposers should describe the specific qualifications of adjunct, part-time, and special faculty who do not hold traditional academic credentials. Proposers should also provide a rationale for such faculty without academic credentials to participate in the professional degree program as regular program faculty. It should be noted that individual members of the Faculty of Record for a professional master’s degree do not have to have adjunct graduate faculty status.

11. How can industry/employers be consulted in the creation of the program’s student learning outcomes?
As non-faculty, industry/employer participants can help determine certain aspects of the program. Proposers should describe the ways in which industry and employer representatives helped to guide the student learning outcomes (SLOs). (Please note that the final decision on Student Learning Outcomes must always be in the hands of the Faculty of Record.)

12. How should I answer the thesis-related questions in the curriculum workbook?
Professional master’s degrees will always be non-thesis.

13. How do I document the licensing/certification component?
Include a statement describing the appropriate outside licensing and/or certification of the field a student must pass. (Lack of licensure cannot impede conferral of the degree.) If additional requirements are necessary that the master’s degree does not offer, please be sure this is clarified and why such components are not included.

14. How should I describe the practicum or clinical experience the program will require?
If field or clinical experience is subsumed within the academic experience, the proposer should provide a description of how the experience relates to the academic goals of the professional graduate degree program. Proposals should also provide a description of the involvement of supervisory personnel. In addition, the proposal should describe the level of communication between the field or clinical experience site and the academic department. The proposal should also include an outline of the anticipated student activities as well as student requirements.

15. What is the relationship of the professional master’s degree to the University’s mission?
Describe how this professional program relates to the mission of UK.