You must meet both program and the Graduate School requirements for graduation. It is your responsibility to notify your graduate program coordinator by the deadline of your intention to graduate. Your program must request your degree warrant a minimum of three weeks before your defense/exam or the degree deadline. The Graduate School issues a degree warrant if you meet these requirements:
- Graduate registration for a minimum of two graduate-level credits (300-level or above for a grade, no audits, or pass/fail) in the semester (fall, spring or summer) you expect your degree. Alternatively, if a degree completion fee has been approved by the Graduate School, you must have paid the fee in lieu of registration (see the Academic Guidelines: degree completion fee).
- Credit requirement for the appropriate degree has been met, or will be by the end of the semester (master’s degrees, 30 credits including 16 residence credits; MFA and Specialists 42 credits including 24 residence credits).
- Graduate GPA of at least 3.00.
- All incomplete, unreported grades, or progress grades in anything other than research/thesis (usually 690, 790, 990) must have been cleared. Independent study (usually 699, 799, or 999) must be given a grade (not progress) each semester. If you are continuing for a PhD, a warrant may be issued even though you have incomplete or progress grades that are part of your PhD program, but your advisor needs to send a letter to the Graduate School stating which courses are for your PhD requirements.
- Students receiving a second (or third) master’s degree from UW–Madison, and students receiving two master’s degrees during the same semester, must submit official lists (on program letterhead and signed by advisors or program chairs) of courses used for each degree. We use these lists to check the 25% overlap rule.
- You must complete all requirements by the appropriate degree deadline.
Note: The Graduate School does not use honors titles (e.g., Magna Cum Laude, Dean’s List, etc.). Graduate students are not eligible to take courses designated for undergraduate honors students.
Master’s Exit Survey
As a graduating master’s student, you must complete the Graduate School’s Master’s Exit Survey (MES) before submitting your signed degree warrant to the Graduate School.*
The MES gathers information on your academic experience (e.g., program quality, support, advising) in your master’s program, as well as information about your post-degree plans. By completing the survey, you provide the Graduate School with valuable information that will help us determine how we can improve programs and services for students. All answers are kept confidential and are only shared in aggregate with all of the other responses from your program.
You will automatically receive an invitation email with survey instructions and a link to the survey when your program requests your master’s degree warrant. You may also access the Master’s Exit Survey here. If you have questions about the survey or if you encounter difficulties in taking it, please contact the Graduate School Survey Administrator at firstname.lastname@example.org.
*Students from the Library and Information Studies MA program, as well as the School of Business full-time, evening, and executive MBA programs are exempt from the survey requirement.
Use this online committee requirements tool to help you determine whether your proposed committee would meet the Graduate School’s minimum requirements for committee members. For more information, see the policy on doctoral/master’s committees.
If your program requires you to deposit a thesis at Memorial Library, you must deposit before the degree deadline. Please follow the instructions available at toward the bottom of this webpage.
A warrant is a document issued to your program by the Graduate School at your program’s request after you have met all degree requirements. Warrants are valid for one semester, and are signed by the program chair, advisor, or your committee. By signing the warrant, programs indicate that all program degree requirements have been met. If the Graduate School does not have your warrant with appropriate signature(s), you will not graduate. NOTE: If your program has signed and returned your warrant to the Graduate School, and you receive an Incomplete or Progress grade at the end of the semester, or you deposit your thesis after the degree deadline, you will receive your degree during the following semester when your grade is cleared or your thesis is deposited (if your program requires thesis deposit).
Degree completion fee
The amount of this fee is equal to two credits at the in-state rate. The Graduate School must approve payment of the fee in lieu of registration. If the fee is appropriate for you, your program must submit a Degree Completion Fee Request Form to the Graduate School for approval. To qualify you must be finished with all degree requirements except for a thesis defense, comprehensive exam, presentation of a final project, or an incomplete course. You must have submitted your thesis, paper, or project to your advisor while you were registered in the previous semester.
Degree completion letter
Before your degree is posted on your final transcript and diploma is available, you can request a degree completion letter from the Registrar about two weeks after the end of the session (or sooner if you complete early in the semester and all requirements are cleared). Contact Office of the Registrar at 333 East Campus Mall #10101.
This is the time between the end of one degree period and the beginning of the next. If you were registered for the previous semester and met all degree requirements by the end of the window period, your degree will be granted in the following semester, but you will not have to register or pay fees for the next semester.
If you want your name to be printed in the commencement program, you must submit an Apply to Graduate application through your MyUW Student Center. This is in addition to contacting your program to request your degree warrant from the Graduate School. You may attend the ceremony even if your name is not included in the commencement program. There is no commencement ceremony in August. If you plan to graduate in August, you may attend either the May or the December ceremony by submitting the Apply to Graduate application through MyUW Student Center. Cap and gown rentals are available at University Bookstore. Guests can attend without tickets.
Degree completion letter
The Registrar’s Office handles degree completion letters. If you have completed all degree requirements (including the deposit of your thesis in Memorial Library if it is required) and are waiting until the next degree conferral date to receive your degree, you may request and receive a letter indicating that all requirements have been completed. All grades from the semester in which you are graduating must be posted on your record before you can receive a completion letter.
The Registrar’s Office will send your diploma to your diploma address approximately 12 to 14 weeks after degree conferral. Update your diploma address via the MyUW Student Center prior to the end of the semester in which you are graduating. Students with holds will not receive their diploma until those holds are cleared.
A student’s name will be printed on the diploma as it appears on the student’s official university record. Changes to legal personal information including names can be requested online. For a student’s name change to appear on the diploma, the change must be made before the degree deadline in the semester the student will graduate.
Students who graduated after December 2015 may also access a Certified Electronic Diploma at no cost. A Certified Electronic Diploma is an official, portable, secure PDF version of the diploma that can be shared with anyone.
The Registrar’s Office posts degrees on official transcripts approximately 4-6 weeks after the end of the semester. You can order your official transcripts online.
Students may also request a campus copy of transcripts of their student record from MyUW Student Center. A campus copy student record is not an official transcript but it does indicate all internal university memoranda. The Registrar’s Office also provides more details on how to request a campus copy student record.