Expecting Your Master’s Degree? Procedures to Help

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, 16 credits; MFA and Specialists 24 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 Ph.D., a warrant may be issued even though you have incomplete or progress grades that are part of your Ph.D. program, but your advisor needs to send a letter to the Graduate School stating which courses are for your Ph.D. 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.

Master’s Degree Survey: Please complete the Master’s Degree Survey to inform the Graduate School about your academic experience and career plans. By completing the survey, you provide the Graduate School with valuable information about post-degree placement, and 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. The survey takes about 20 minutes to complete. At the end of the semester, graduate students will be sent an email containing a link to the survey. 

Thesis Deposit

If you are required to deposit your thesis at Memorial Library, you must deposit before the degree deadline. Please follow the instructions available here: Guide to Preparing Your Master’s Thesis.

Degree Warrant

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.

Window Period

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.


The Registrar posts degrees on official transcripts approximately four to six weeks after the end of the semester. You can order transcripts at the Office of the Registrar. Call 262-3811 for more information.


The Office of the Registrar will send your diploma to your DIPLOMA address approximately 12 weeks after degree conferral. Update your Diploma address via My UW prior to leaving campus.

International students: you MUST enter your DIPLOMA address via My UW to receive your diploma.

International Mailing Address for Diploma and Certification of Graduation

If you wish to have your diploma sent to an address outside of the U.S., tell the Registrar ahead of time at 333 East Campus Mall #10101. Certification letters are always sent by air mail.

For more information

Contact your departmental graduate coordinator or:

Master's Degree Coordinator

228 Bascom Hall
500 Lincoln Drive


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