Following is a guide to the steps required to earn a master’s degree. A detailed description of the steps required for each of the individual graduate programs is included within that program’s section of this catalog.

Steps to Completing the Master’s Degree

  1. Applicant is admitted to a graduate program.
  2. Student submits an Official Declaration of Master’s Degree (Form GR-1) to the Office of Graduate Studies no later than the end of the semester in which the first six graduate credits are completed.
  3. Depending on the individual program requirements, the student develops a thesis or project proposal. The proposal is reviewed and approved by the thesis/project committee or adviser.
  4. Student registers for thesis or professional project/course credits and continues work on the project.
  5. Student schedules a thesis defense or professional project presentation.
  6. The scheduled thesis defense meeting or professional project presentation takes place.
  7. If the thesis or professional project is successfully completed, the student files an Application for Graduation with the Registrar’s Office through the Student Information System (SIS).
  8. Degree is awarded and graduate receives diploma

Official Declaration of Master’s Degree (Form GR-1)

Students in all programs file a declaration form in order to be officially assigned to one of the programs of study outlined in this catalog. The Official Declaration of Master’s Degree form must be submitted to the Office of Graduate Studies before the end of the semester in which the student completes the first six credits of graduate-level course work. It must be approved before a student can register for additional courses. Any changes in the student’s selection of a program of study must be submitted to the Office of Graduate Studies for approval and filing with the Registrar’s Office.

Completing the Course Requirements for a Degree

After admission, the student develops a degree completion plan with his or her thesis committee, major professor or program adviser. The plan lists the courses the student needs to complete to satisfy the degree requirements. If the student has not selected a major professor or adviser, the graduate program chair can approve the degree completion plan as the student’s adviser. A substitution form must be filed when courses outside the standard degree requirements are chosen. The primary responsibility for ensuring that each student’s degree completion plan meets the requirements and regulations of the master’s program rests with the student.

A maximum of 15 credits of graduate coursework completed at other institutions can be applied toward a UW-Green Bay master’s degree. Individual programs may accept fewer credits. Documents substantiating course work (e.g., course substitution forms) should be sent to the Associate Provost for Academic Affairs/ Director of Graduate Studies. Once approved, materials are forwarded to the Office of the Registrar.

Thesis or Professional Project

As part of their degree all students complete either a thesis working with their major professor and committee or a professional project supervised by an adviser. The thesis or project provides an opportunity for graduate students to focus and apply their course work and make a public contribution to knowledge. Successful completion of a thesis or professional project is intended to be a demonstration of a student’s ability to define, investigate, and solve problems. The procedures for developing a proposal and completing the thesis or professional project requirement vary by program. Students should consult the program specific sections of this catalog or a programs website for additional information.

For graduation in the fall and spring semesters, a student’s defense must be held before the last day of final exams in a given semester. The student then has 20 calendar days after the last day of final exams to submit their final thesis/project document to the Office of Graduate Studies and 42 calendar days after the last day of final exams for all other graduation requirements to be completed and verified.


In order to graduate, and become eligible to participate in commencement, an Application for Graduation must be completed and submitted to the Office of the Registrar. In addition, a student must sign up to participate in the commencement ceremony prior to November 1 for fall semester graduates, and April 1 for spring and summer semester graduates. UW-Green Bay holds two commencement ceremonies each year, at the end of the fall and spring semesters. Students who complete their work during the summer may participate in the preceding spring ceremony.