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Degrees, Minors, Certificates

The UW–Madison Graduate School confers the Master of Arts, Master of Science, Master of Accountancy, Master of Business Administration, Master of Music, Master of Engineering, Master of French Studies, Master of International Public Affairs, Master of Music, Master of Public Affairs, Master of Social Work, Master of Fine Arts, Doctor of Audiology, Doctor of Musical Arts, Doctor of Nursing Practice, and Doctor of Philosophy. Additionally, several programs that do not award graduate degrees may offer doctoral minors, specialist certificates, graduate/professional certificates, or capstone certificates.

The master's degree is conferred only upon completion of a coherent and focused program of advanced study. 

The master of fine arts degree offers superior students advanced training and opportunities for creativity. The program is for the prospective professional artist and teacher in the fine arts at the college level and emphasizes creative work.

The doctor of philosophy, the doctor of nursing practice, the doctor of audiology, and the doctor of musical arts are the highest degrees conferred at UW–Madison. None are conferred solely as a result of any prescribed period of study, no matter how faithfully pursued. The Ph.D. degree is a research degree and is granted on evidence of general proficiency, distinctive attainment in a special field, and particularly on ability for independent investigation as demonstrated in a dissertation presenting original research or creative scholarship with a high degree of literary skill. The DMA degree is granted on evidence of a high degree of competence in performance, conducting, or composition. The DNP and Au.D. degrees are clinical doctorates granted on evidence of clinical knowledge and expertise in their respective disciplinary areas.

The Ph.D., DNP, Au.D., and DMA degree programs must be rationally unified, with courses that must contribute to an organized program of study and research. Courses must be selected from groups embracing one principal subject of concentration called the major (see Degrees), and if required, from one or more related fields called the doctoral minor. The major field is normally coextensive with the work of a single department or with one of the subjects under which certain programs have been formally arranged. A major may be permitted to extend beyond the above limits with the prior approval of the Dean of the Graduate School. The doctoral minor is designed to represent a coherent body of work, taken as a graduate student, and should not be simply an after-the-fact ratification of a number of courses taken outside the major department.

Graduate School minimum credits and other requirements necessary to earn these degrees are listed in the Graduate School Minimum Degree Requirements and Satisfactory Progress section; each program may set degree requirements and expectations more rigorous than the Graduate School.

Schools and Colleges

College of Agricultural and Life Sciences
Wisconsin School of Business
Division of Continuing Studies
School of Education
College of Engineering
Gaylord Nelson for Environmental Studies
Graduate School
School of Human Ecology
Law School
College of Letters & Science
School of Medicine and Public Health
School of Nursing
School of Pharmacy
School of Veterinary Medicine


This is the official list of graduate degrees offered at UW–Madison. Additional information, including all application materials, is available directly from the department or program.


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African Languages and Literature—M.A., Ph.D.
Afro-American Studies—M.A.
Agricultural and Applied Economics—M.A., M.S., Ph.D.
Agronomy—M.S., Ph.D.
Animal Sciences—M.S., Ph.D.
Anthropology—M.A., M.S., Ph.D.
Art—M.A., MFA
Art Education—M.A.
Art History—M.A., Ph.D.
Astronomy—M.S., Ph.D.
Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences—M.S., Ph.D.

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Biochemistry—M.S., Ph.D.
Biological Systems Engineering—M.S., Ph.D.
Biomedical Engineering—M.S., M.Eng., Ph.D.
Biomedical Informatics—M.S.
Biophysics—M.S., Ph.D.
Botany—M.S., Ph.D.
Business—Ph.D., M.A., MBA, M.Acc., M.S.

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Cancer Biology—M.S., Ph.D.
Cartography and Geographic Information Systems—M.S.
Cellular and Molecular Biology—M.S., Ph.D.
Cellular and Molecular Pathology—M.S., Ph.D.
Chemical Engineering—M.S./M.Eng., Ph.D.
Chemistry—M.S., Ph.D.
Chinese—M.A., Ph.D.
Civil and Environmental Engineering—M.S., M.Eng., Ph.D.
Classics—M.A., Ph.D.
Clinical Investigation—M.S., Ph.D.
Communication Arts—M.A., Ph.D.
Communication Sciences and Disorders—M.S., Ph.D.
Comparative Biomedical Sciences—M.S., Ph.D.
Comparative Literature—M.A., Ph.D.
Computer Sciences—M.S., Ph.D.
Counseling Psychology—Ph.D.
Creative Writing—MFA
Curriculum and Instruction—M.S., Ph.D.

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Dairy Science—M.S., Ph.D.

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Economics—M.S., Ph.D.
Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis—M.S.,Ph.D.
Educational Policy Studies—M.A., Ph.D.
Educational Psychology—M.S., Ph.D.
Electrical Engineering—M.S., M.Eng., Ph.D.
Endocrinology-Reproductive Physiology—M.S., Ph.D.
Engineering Mechanics—M.S./M.Eng., Ph.D.
English—M.A., Ph.D.
Entomology—M.S., Ph.D.
Environment and Resources—M.S., Ph.D.
Environmental Chemistry and Technology—M.S., Ph.D.
Environmental Conservation—M.S.
Epidemiology—M.S., Ph.D.

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Food Science—M.S., Ph.D.
Forestry—M.S., Ph.D.
French—M.A., Ph.D.
French Studies—MFS
Freshwater and Marine Sciences—M.S., Ph.D.

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Gender and Women's Studies—M.A.
Genetics—M.S., Ph.D.
Geography—M.S., Ph.D.
Geological Engineering—M.S., M.Eng., Ph.D.
Geoscience—M.S., Ph.D.
German—M.A., Ph.D.

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Hebrew and Semitic Studies—M.A., Ph.D.
History—M.A., Ph.D.
History of Science, Medicine and Technology—M.A., Ph.D.
Horticulture—M.S., Ph.D.
Human Ecology—MFA, M.S., Ph.D.

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Industrial Engineering—M.S., M.Eng., Ph.D.
Interdisciplinary Theatre Studies—M.A., Ph.D.
International Public Affairs—MIPA
Italian—M.A., Ph.D.

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Japanese—M.A., Ph.D.
Journalism and Mass Communication—M.A.

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Kinesiology—M.A., M.S., Ph.D.

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Landscape Architecture—M.A., M.S.
Languages and Cultures of Asia—M.A., Ph.D.
Latin American, Caribbean, and Iberian Studies—M.A.
Library and Information Studies—M.A., Ph.D.
Life Sciences Communication—M.S.
Linguistics—M.A., Ph.D.

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Manufacturing Systems Engineering—M.S., M.Eng.
Mass Communications—Ph.D.
Materials Engineering—M.S., M.Eng., Ph.D.
Materials Science—M.S., M.Eng., Ph.D.
Mathematics—M.A., Ph.D.
Mechanical Engineering—M.S., M.Eng., Ph.D.
Medical Genetics—M.S.
Medical Microbiology and Immunology—M.S.—M.S.
Medical Physics—M.S., Ph.D.
Molecular and Cellular Pharmacology—M.S., Ph.D.
Molecular and Environmental Toxicology—M.S., Ph.D.
Music—M.A., Ph.D.
Music: Education—M.M.
Music: Performance—M.M., DMA

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Neuroscience—M.S., Ph.D.
Nuclear Engineering and Engineering Physics—M.S., M.Eng., Ph.D.
Nursing—M.S., Ph.D.
Nursing Practice—DNP
Nutritional Sciences—M.S., Ph.D.

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Occupational Therapy—M.S.

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Pharmaceutical Sciences—M.S., Ph.D.
Philosophy—M.A., Ph.D.
Physics—M.A., M.S., Ph.D.
Physiology—M.S., Ph.D.
Plant Breeding and Plant Genetics—M.S., Ph.D.
Plant Pathology—M.S., Ph.D.
Political Science—M.A., Ph.D.
Population Health—M.S., Ph.D.
Portuguese—M.A., Ph.D.
Psychology—M.A., M.S., Ph.D.
Public Affairs—MPA

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Rehabilitation Psychology—M.S., Ph.D.
Russian, East European and Central Asian Studies—M.A.

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Scandinavian Studies—M.A., Ph.D.
Second Language Acquisition—Ph.D.
Slavic Languages and Literatures—M.A., Ph.D.
Social and Administrative Sciences in Pharmacy—M.S., Ph.D.
Social Welfare—Ph.D.
Social Work—MSW
Sociology—M.S., Ph.D.
Soil Science—M.S., Ph.D.
Southeast Asian Studies—M.A.
Spanish—M.A., Ph.D.
Special Education—M.S., Ph.D.
Special Graduate Committee—M.A., MFA, M.S., Ph.D.
Statistics—M.S., Ph.D.

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Theatre and Drama—MFA

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Urban and Regional Planning—M.S., Ph.D.

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Water Resources Management—M.S.
Wildlife Ecology—M.S., Ph.D.

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Zoology—M.A., M.S., Ph.D.

Distance or Flexible Programs

The university offers several degree and capstone certificate programs that are fully or partially available at a distance or that are flexible to working schedules with evening and/or weekend courses. For general information about these types of programs, refer to the degree and capstone certificate sections.

Distance Programs

The following programs are fully or partially available at a distance. They represent programs where a student could earn the credential by taking 50 percent or more of the work associated with the program at a distance. For more information, contact the programs.

Clinical Nutrition—Capstone Certificate
Clinical Nutrition–Dietetic Internship—Capstone Certificate
Consumer Health Advocacy—Capstone Certificate
Educational Psychology—M.S. (named option: Professional Educator) (MSPE)
Electrical Engineering—M.S. (named option: Power Engineering)
Engineering—M.Eng. (named options: Engine Systems; Professional Practice; Sustainable Systems Engineering; Technical Japanese)
International Politics and Practice—Capstone Certificate
Leadership for Population Health Improvement—Capstone Certificate
Library and Information Studies—M.A. (named option: Distance Delivered Program)
Nursing Care of Children with Chronic Conditions in Schools—Capstone Certificate
Mechanical Engineering—M.Eng. (named option: Polymer Science)
Mechanical Engineering—M.S. (named option: Controls)

Flexible Programs

The following programs are flexible to working schedules with evening and/or weekend courses. For more information, contact the program.

Business: General Management—MBA (named options: Executive MBA; Evening MBA)
Computer Sciences—M.S. (named option: Professional Program)
Computer Sciences for Professionals—Capstone Certificate
Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis—Specialist Certificate
Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis—M.S.
Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis—M.S. (named options: Cooperative Program with UW–Whitewater; Global Higher Education)
Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis—Ph.D.
Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis—Ph.D. (named option: Wisconsin Idea Executive Ph.D. Cohort)
Infant, Early Childhood, and Family Mental Health—Capstone Certificate
Post Graduate Psychiatric Nursing—Capstone Certificate
Social Work—MSW (named options: Part Time MSW, Eau Claire; Part Time MSW, Madison)

For a list of other distance and flexible programs on campus, see the Division of Continuing Studies website.

Doctoral Minors

Breadth is an important component of doctoral training. Given that there are multiple paths to breadth, the Graduate School leaves the choice of whether students achieve breadth through a minor or other means up to the specific graduate program. 

Minor options are as follows:

  • Option A (external): Requires a minimum of 9 credits in a minor program (single disciplinary or multidisciplinary). Fulfillment of this option requires the approval of the minor program.
  • Option B (distributed): Requires a minimum of 9 credits in one or more programs forming a coherent topic, and can include course work in the program. Fulfillment of this option requires approval of the major program. See Minors in the Graduate School Academic Policies and Procedures for minimum course requirements for the minor.

Almost all available graduate programs offer an equivalent option A minor. See the official list of graduate degrees, above, to review individual catalog entries to confirm counterpart doctoral minor offerings within existing graduate programs. The following is a list of additional doctoral minors distinct from the existing list of graduate programs: 

African Studies
Air Resources Management
Business, Environment and Social Responsibility
Chicano/a and Latino/a Studies
Conservation Biology and Sustainable Development
Culture, History and Environment
East Asian Studies
English Linguistics
Global Studies
History of Medicine
Human Development and Family Studies
Humans and the Global Environment
International Education
Prevention and Intervention Science
Print Culture History
Qualitative Research Methodology in Education
Religious Studies
Science and Technology Studies
Transdisciplinary Study of Visual Cultures

Graduate/Professional Certificates

The university offers several programs of study that may not grant graduate degrees but coordinate teaching and research among scholars active in interrelated disciplines. Graduate/professional certificates are available to degree-seeking graduate and professional students (GRAD, LAW, MED, PHARM, VMED "careers"). There is no formal admission to graduate/professional certificate programs. Programs offering the following certificates monitor all course and satisfactory progress requirements.

African Studies
Business, Environment and Social Responsibility
Clinical and Community Outcomes Research
Consumer Health Advocacy
Culture, History and Environment
Energy Analysis and Policy
European Studies
Fundamentals of Clinical Research
Gender and Women's Studies
Global Health
Humans and the Global Environment
Material Culture Studies
Patient Safety
Prevention and Intervention Science
Public Humanities
Russian, East European and Central Asian Studies
Southeast Asian Studies
Strategic Innovation: Technology, Organizations, and Society
Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL)
Transdisciplinary Study of Visual Cultures
Transportation Management and Policy

Specialist Certificates

The Specialist Certificate represents work beyond the master's level. For more information, contact the program.

Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis (Specialist)
Library and Information Studies (Specialist)


Capstone Certificates

The university offers capstone certificates for students not currently enrolled in a UW–Madison degree program. Applicants must have completed a baccalaureate degree equivalent credential from an accredited college or university.  Students seek a capstone certificate to "cap off" their undergraduate training; or are professionals returning to school for specialized training in the area of the certificate. Capstone programs do not lead to the conferral of a graduate degree.

Programs offering capstone certificates monitor all curricular and satisfactory progress requirements. Applicants are admitted as Special students through the Division of Continuing Studies. For more information see Capstone Certificates on the Division of Continuing Studies website.

UW–Madison offers the following capstone certificate programs:

Actuarial Science
Clinical and Community Outcomes Research
Clinical Nutrition
Clinical Nutrition—Dietetic Internship
Communication Sciences and Disorders
Computer Sciences for Professionals
Consumer Health Advocacy
French Studies
Fundamentals of Clinical Research
Geographic Information Systems
Global Health
Infant, Early Childhood, and Family Mental Health
International Politics and Practice
Leadership for Population Health Improvement
Nursing Care of Children with Chronic Conditions in Schools (admissions suspended effective fall 2014)
Post-Graduate Psychiatric Nursing