Double, Joint, and Dual Degrees Comparison

Double, Joint, and Dual Degrees Comparison

Double Degree

  • 2 degrees, 2 diplomas
  • 2 graduate majors
  • 2 advisors, 2 committees
  • 2 theses or dissertations
  • Minimum Graduate School requirements for each degree
  • 2 prelims (PhD)
  • 2 warrant requests, 2 warrants
  • List of courses used for each major must be submitted to GS when requesting warrants.
  • No more than 25% overlap (of the total credits for the program with lowest credit requirement).

Joint Degree

  • 1 degree, 1 diploma
  • 2 graduate majors
  • 2 advisors, 1 committee
  • 1 thesis or dissertation
  • Joint prelim, if both major programs agree, or 2 prelims (PhD)
  • 1 warrant request, 1 warrant
  • Must submit proposal to GS before beginning of second year.  Need signatures of both advisors and both program directors, and Graduate School approval.

Dual Degree

  • One graduate degree and one professional degree (i.e. a degree from the School of Medicine and Public Health or the Law school).

Grading System and GPA Calculation

Grading System and GPA Calculation

Grades are assigned only by instructors and are reported only by letter grade. Plus and minus grades are not accepted.

The university uses the following grading system:
Grade Grade-points per credit
A Excellent 4
AB Intermediate 3.5
B Good 3
BC Intermediate 2.5
C Fair 2
D Poor 1
F Failure 0

The following grades have no associated grade points and are excluded from the graduate Grade Point Average (GPA):
S Satisfactory
U Unsatisfactory
I Incomplete (a temporary grade when work is not completed)
P Progress
PI Permanent Incomplete
DR Dropped
W Withdrew
CR Credit
N No Credit
IN Incomplete in Credit/No Credit Course (a temporary grade when work is not completed)
M Missing – used for audited courses
NR No Report (a temporary grade for a graded course when a final grade has not been submitted by the instructor; a final grade for an audited course when the student did not meet the instructor’s minimum standards)
NW No Work – used for non-attendance in a course
Q Question on Credits

GPA Calculation

  • To calculate graduate GPA:
    • Refer to the grading system table in Appendix 3 above to find the grade-point value of each letter grade on your transcript.
    • Multiply the grade-point value by the number of credits for the course. For example, a three (3) credit AB would be calculated as:
      3.5 grade-points for an AB
      × 3 credits
      10.5 grade-points
    • Continue this calculation for every course numbered 300 and above that you took as a graduate student. Do include independent study courses and seminars. Do not include research courses; each department determines course numbers for their research courses. Do not include courses taken as a University Special student. Add the total number of grade points earned and the total number of credits earned.
    • Divide the total number of grade points by the total number of credits.
      215 grade-points
      ÷ 60 credits
      3.58 GPA
    • This final figure is your graduate GPA.

The UW–Madison Cross College Advising Service GPA Calculator may be a useful tool.

Payroll Benefits for Graduate Assistants, Fellows, and Trainees

Payroll Benefits for Graduate Assistants, Fellows, and Trainees

Fellow Trainee Research Assistant Project Assistant Teaching Assistant
Subject to State and Federal Income Taxes yes1 yes1 yes yes yes
Withholding no2 no2 yes yes yes
Subject to FICA Tax no no no3 no3 no3
W2 no4 no4 yes yes yes
Health Insurance (if at least 33.33% time appointment or an equivalent*) yes yes yes yes yes
Remission of nonresident portion of tuition (if at least 33.33% time appointment or an equivalent*) yes no yes, unless student is enrolled in a service-based pricing program5 yes, unless student is enrolled in a service-based pricing program5 yes, unless student is enrolled in a service-based pricing program5
Remission of resident portion of tuition (if at least 33.33% time appointment or an equivalent*) no no yes6, unless student is enrolled in a service-based pricing program5 yes6, unless student is enrolled in a service-based pricing program5 yes6, unless student is enrolled in a service-based pricing program5
Vacation no varies yes yes no
Sick Leave no varies yes yes yes

1 May deduct tuition, fees, and books from stipends when calculating taxable income.
2 Except international students. See your payroll coordinator.
3 Half-time enrollment is required for exemption.
4 The university provides fellows and trainees a summary of stipend payments each January.
5 Graduate students enrolled in service-based pricing programs, such as online and accelerated programs, are ineligible to receive tuition remission. See a list of UW–Madison academic programs with service-based pricing (NetID login required).
6 Does not include segregated fees which are the responsibility of the student.

*This information is intended as a guideline and specific benefits eligibility should be reviewed at:

Schools and Colleges, Graduate Degrees

Schools and Colleges, Graduate Degrees

University of Wisconsin–Madison Schools and Colleges

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

Degrees Granted by the University of Wisconsin–Madison Graduate School

Master of Accountancy (MAcc)
Master of Arts (MA)
Master of Business Administration (MBA)
Master of Engineering (MEng)
Master of Fine Arts (MFA)
Master of French Studies (MFS)
Master of International Public Affairs (MIPA)
Master of Music (MM)
Master of Public Affairs (MPA)
Master of Science (MS)
Master of Social Work (MSW)
Doctor of Audiology (AuD)
Doctor of Musical Arts (DMA)
Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)
Doctor of Occupational Therapy (OTD)
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

For a list of programs and degrees offered by each department, see UW–Madison Graduate Academic Programs. Also see the current Graduate Guide.

UW–Madison offers a number of post-baccalaureate professional degrees that are not administered by the Graduate School, but instead are solely supported by their home school. See Other Professional Degrees.


Withdrawal policy

Withdrawal indicates that a student intends to stop attending classes for the current semester. Submission of a withdrawal request in MyUW Student Center is required between the first and last day of the semester, when a student wishes to drop all classes in which he or she is enrolled for the current semester. The electronic withdrawal process will not require submission of a signed paper form. Instead, students will submit withdrawal requests via their MyUW Student Center, and the requests are then routed electronically to the Graduate School for review. Approval from the Graduate School, as well as from the Office of International Student Services for students on J-1 and F-1 visas, is required before a graduate student is formally withdrawn from the semester. For more information visit the Office of the Registrar’s Withdraw from UW-Madison webpage.

If students drop all courses before the first day of classes, they officially cancel their enrollment, owe no tuition or fees for that term, and have no semester entry on their transcript. In this case, it is not necessary for the student to submit a withdrawal request to the Graduate School. Students planning to withdraw from their academic program should contact their program directly.

Students are considered enrolled for a term if they have courses on their record on or after the first day of classes for that term regardless of whether they have paid tuition and fees. Failure to attend classes or leaving the university informally does not excuse a student from having to pay tuition and fees. If students withdraw after the transcript deadline, a notation with the date of withdrawal will appear on the transcript. Enrollment deadlines are posted by the Office of the Registrar on their Enrollment Deadlines webpage.

Failure to withdraw properly and promptly can be expensive. Before withdrawing, students should consult the Office of the Registrar’s Enrollment Deadlines webpage for specific deadlines and refund dates. If a student received financial aid from the university, they should consult the Office of Student Financial Aid to determine repayment responsibilities. If students withdraw and are receiving remission of tuition, they are responsible for their entire tuition assessment.

See RefundsTuition and Fee InformationTuition Remission


Warrants policy

A warrant is a program’s recommendation that a student be admitted to doctoral candidacy (a preliminary examination warrant) or be granted a degree (master’s or doctoral), and is the Graduate School’s notification that a student has met both the Graduate School and the program requirements. Warrants are requested electronically by the Graduate Program Coordinator and must be returned to the Graduate School with faculty signatures upon completion of the degree requirements.

See Certificate of Doctoral CandidacyDissertator StatusFinal Oral Examination (Defense)Preliminary Examinations

Violence Prevention

Violence Prevention policy

University Health Services (UHS) has designed an online sexual violence prevention training program specifically for graduate students to promote the health and safety of the campus community by increasing understanding of sexual assault, harassment, dating and domestic violence, and stalking, as well as prevention strategies, resources, victim rights, and reporting options. Starting fall 2017, all new incoming graduate students, admitted summer 2017 or after, are required to complete the 45-minute online training program within their first semester. Failure to complete the training will result in probation and a registration hold.

For further information, review the Task Force on Sexual Violence and Harassment recommendations document, which was adopted by University of Wisconsin System Board of Regents in 2016. For questions, visit the violence prevention program website or email

Variable Credit Courses

Variable Credit Courses policy

Some didactic courses are offered to both undergraduate and graduate students. Typically undergraduate students enroll for a higher amount of total credits than do graduate students. Courses of this nature are designated in the Schedule of Classes as variable credit courses. Students should consult the Course Search and Enroll App to determine the appropriate credits when enrolling for a variable credit course.

University Special Student Status

University Special Student Status policy

Students enrolled as University Special students are considered non-degree candidates and pay tuition and fees at the designated special student rate. See the Prior Coursework policy for information on how limited credits taken as a University Special Student may be accepted by a graduate program.  Students are not allowed to simultaneously enroll as a graduate student and as a University Special student.

Before beginning a graduate program, an international student may choose to study full-time English as a University Special student on an F-1 visa granted through the ESL program or on a J-1 visa with the sponsor’s approval. When the student begins a graduate program, the student’s status will be changed from University Special student to graduate student.

For more information visit the Adult Career and Special Student Services website or contact them at

See English as a Second Language (ESL)University Special Student Credit Conversion

University Special Student Credit Conversion

University Special Student Credit Conversion policy

A program may count University Special student credits toward program course requirements. In rare circumstances, the program may appeal to the Graduate School to apply University Special student credits towards the Graduate School’s minimum graduate residence, degree, and coursework (50%) credit requirements, provided the work was not done to prove admissibility to the Graduate School. Graduate level work done as a University Special student prior to enrolling in the Graduate School will not be included in the calculation of the graduate Grade Point Average. See the full details of transferring credits from University Special student career at UW–Madison in the Prior Coursework section.

If a program verifies that a student needs the University Special student credits to meet the Graduate School’s minimum graduate residence, degree, and coursework (50%) credit requirements in alignment with the Prior Coursework policy, the faculty advisor and graduate program chair should submit an appeal to the Graduate School Degree Coordinator during the student’s final semester. The appeal should indicate for which term(s) they are seeking conversion and detail the reasoning for such conversion. For those students applying credits that were not part of a capstone certificate program or a Visiting International Student Program (VISP) student, the University Special student term conversion on the transcript does not occur until the appeal has been approved by the Graduate School and payment of the difference in tuition is paid; costs are based on the whole term (not specific courses/credits). The payment cost is the difference between the University Special and graduate tuition rates for the historical term to be converted, not the current term.

See Prior Coursework