Graduate students at USM are allowed to pursue two graduate degrees under the circumstances detailed below. In all cases, dual degrees should be interpreted to include separate majors (concentrations) within the same degree (e.g. Master of Science) or a combination of two different degrees at the same level. In all cases, students will receive separate diplomas or certificates. The policies on dual degrees reflect the principle that students should complete adequate content and a substantial amount of coursework for each degree received.
1. Consecutive Degrees. Enrollment in consecutive dual degrees refers to matriculation in a second graduate degree program at the University of Southern Maine after completion of the requirements for a first graduate degree. A student may typically apply up to nine earned credits from the completed degree program to the second graduate degree program, according to the second program’s policy on transfer credits; the student’s new program advisor and program coordinator or chair must approve this process. Thesis or research project credits from the first program may not be counted toward the requirements of the second program. Additional policies on transfer of credits from graduate certificate programs are included in the OGS policies relating to non-degree graduate certificates.
2. Concurrent Degrees. Enrollment in concurrent dual degrees occurs when a student is matriculated in two graduate degree programs simultaneously. A student may not be enrolled in more than two graduate programs simultaneously. In general, a student may pursue concurrent degrees only with approval of the appropriate graduate program chairs or coordinator(s). The student must apply and be admitted to both programs. With approval of the student’s advisor from each program, a student may typically apply up to nine University of Southern Maine credits earned in either graduate degree toward the total requirements for both degrees. Generally students must complete separate theses if required by both programs. Completion of the degree requirements for the two programs need not be at the same time.
3. Joint, Integrated Dual Degrees. Some units have formalized concurrent dual degrees between programs which create an integrated program linking the two disciplines, while continuing to award separate degrees. Generally these integrated dual degree programs follow the rules outlined in (2) above. However, if the formalized dual degree program features further integration, such as a single admissions process, submission of a single thesis, a single advisory committee composed of members from both programs, or more than 9 credits of common courses, the integrated program (including proposed program of study) must be reviewed by the Dean of Graduate Studies and presented to the Graduate Council by representatives of both involved programs to ensure conformance to the principle described above.
The above policies shall apply to all dual degree programs developed after January 1, 2005.