Master's Programs Requirements

Master's Programs Requirements

The general characteristics of the graduate programs of study are outlined below; but as with admissions, specific requirements for all graduate degrees, including concurrent and dual or joint degrees, may be obtained from the schools in which the programs are to be carried out.  These characteristics are specific to the MS, MA, MFA, MLA, and MPros degree programs.

4+1 Master's Programs

In some programs, undergraduate students have the option of obtaining a master's degree with one additional year of study beyond the bachelor's degree (4+1). Program requirements vary, but most 4+1 degrees do not require a thesis, in which case 30 credit hours of additional coursework beyond the bachelor's level are required. Those programs that offer a thesis-based 4+1 option require 24 credit hours of coursework beyond the bachelor's level. In some cases, a modified undergraduate curriculum is required to complete the 4+1 program; e.g., enrollment during the senior year in 6000-level courses that can be applied to both the bachelor's and master's degrees. Because this may be the case, interested students are advised to consult with their program's graduate advisor prior to their junior year to obtain specific instructions for participation in the 4+1 program. Tuition for the fifth year of the 4+1 program is set by the appropriate school or program.

Additional Requirements

Schools and graduate programs may have additional requirements for completion of the master's degree. Students are advised to consult with the appropriate departmental graduate adviser or dean for this information.

Admission to Degree Programs

Admission to all graduate studies programs at Tulane is on the basis of academic accomplishments and potential, regardless of race, sex, color, religion, national/ethnic origin, citizenship, marital status, sexual orientation, disability, or veteran status.

Specific admission standards are set by the individual schools or programs, but in general, only applicants who have earned an undergraduate degree from a recognized institution may be admitted if their academic records and personal attributes indicate the ability to pursue advanced study successfully. Applicants must present evidence, to the satisfaction of the department or the program committee concerned, of adequate preparation for the subjects in which they seek to specialize. All students must hold the undergraduate degree before enrolling. Only students with undergraduate averages of B or better, or with undergraduate study of otherwise certifiable equivalent quality, ordinarily are admitted.

A master's degree is not prerequisite to the beginning of study for the Doctor of Philosophy degree, but a student may be required to qualify for the master's degree while working toward the doctorate.

Prospective students should consult the graduate admissions offices of their program of interest for additional admission requirements, application deadlines, and degree requirements.

Conferring of Degrees

All degrees are conferred by Tulane University. Degrees earned at the graduate level are awarded three times a year in December, May, and August. There is one commencement program each year in May. Candidates for degrees are required to complete an application for degree form on or before deadline dates, as stipulated by each school.

Change of Courses

Students wishing to add or drop courses should consult the Schedule of Classes for instructions, as well as the official Academic Calendar. Failure to make schedule adjustments promptly and accurately may result in financial or academic penalties.

Change of Departmental Program

A student who has been admitted to a degree program in one department and wishes to transfer to a program in another department must obtain the approval of the chair of both departments concerned and the approval of the dean of the school before the change is official. The necessary form for such changes is available in the dean's office. A student who wishes to transfer to a program in a different school must apply to and be admitted by the other school.

Dual Degree Programs

Tulane University offers a number of dual or joint degrees that are pursued as single coherent program of study. Up to 12 credit hours may be shared between the two degrees to meet Master's degree requirements and up to 24 credit hours may be shared to meet Ph.D. requirements. For joint Ph.D. programs, the requirements of the Ph.D. must be maintained and satisfied in order to receive the Ph.D. degree.


Grades are reported as follows:

Grade Description
C+ A course in which a grade of C+ or less is earned cannot be counted toward a graduate degree.
I Incomplete - This grade will automatically become F unless the work is made up within 30 days after the beginning of the following semester, excluding Summer School. This grade is not to be used as an automatic extension but only for unavoidable delays caused by illness or other emergencies.
R Research - In those cases where research or experimentation, or both, cannot be completed within the 30-day limit following the end of the semester, this grade will be given to indicate this circumstance. This grade carries a different meaning from that of IP which is given at the end of the first semester of a two-semester course.
IP In Progress - Satisfactory progress at the end of the first semester of a year-long course; grades are assigned upon completion of the course.
W Courses may be dropped without record within six weeks of the first day of classes. Refer to Academic Calendar for exact dates each semester. Withdrawals with the grade of W after these dates may be accomplished only if the instructor notifies the dean that the student is passing and recommends permission to withdraw. WF (withdrawn failing) will be assigned if the student's work in a course is unsatisfactory at the time of withdrawal.

In some departments grades for certain courses are reported as follows:

Grade Description
S Satisfactory
U Unsatisfactory

In some departments, grades for certain other designated courses may also be reported simply as S or U at the student's option, provided that the option is declared by the student no later than the end of the second week of class.

Master's Degree Minimum Degree Requirements

Minimum Credit Hour Requirements

The minimum credit hour requirement for a non-professional Master's degree is 30 credit hours; however, some programs may require additional hours of coursework.  Those programs that require 24 credit hours of coursework and a thesis for the Master's degree are in compliance with this policy. See Thesis Requirements below for additional information.

Continuous Registration Requirements

A student admitted in a degree program must be continuously registered in a degree-granting division of the university during the academic year (exclusive of summer session) in either full-time or part-time status from the date of first registration until the awarding of the degree, unless the registration is terminated by resignation or by dismissal for academic or disciplinary reasons.

A student who has not completed the minimum coursework requirements for the degree must enroll for a minimum of three hours per semester (exclusive of Summer Session).  Some schools may require registration for a higher number of credit hours or may charge a continuous registration fee.

Failure to be continuously registered is de facto withdrawal and the school reserves the right not to readmit. A student who is readmitted is obligated to pay any applicable fee required to maintain continuous registration. Under exceptional circumstances a student may be granted leave by the dean of the appropriate school, and during such a period of leave will be considered in continuous registration without any payment of fee.

Full-Time Status

Full-time status consists of registration for at least nine hours of graduate credit per semester, or a combination of coursework and equivalent academic activities such as teaching or research. To hold a Tulane-sponsored fellowship, scholarship, or assistantship, a student must be in full-time status. Off-campus employment may disqualify a student from receiving a Tulane-sponsored fellowship, scholarship, or assistantship.

Part-Time Status

Part-time status consists of registration for less than nine hours of graduate credit per semester.  In such cases, the department or the program committee can provide no certification that the student is engaged in a full-time academic program.

Transfer Credit

Acceptance of graduate credit for work done at other graduate institutions or in another division of Tulane must be approved by the department or program concerned, or by the dean of the appropriate school. In general, no more than 50% of all credits for a graduate degree may be transferred from another university or program. Some programs may allow fewer transfer credits and/or limit the applicability of transfer credits to degree programs. Please see the Graduate Credit Transfer Policy for more details.

Tenure for Degree Students

Tenure is the maximum period of time normally permitted for the completion of all requirements for a degree, and it is determined on the basis of consecutive academic years from the date of registration for graduate study at Tulane or at another institution. Tenure for a one-year master's degree is three (3) years. Tenure for a two-year master's degree is four (4) years. Tenure for a three-year master's degree is five (5) years.  Tenure is not affected by residence status. Under certain circumstances, upon the recommendation of the chairperson of a student's department or program committee, the dean may extend tenure, but a student whose period of graduate study is unduly prolonged or interrupted may be required to perform additional work. Tenure regulations are applicable to all degree students, regardless of date of first registration.

Dual Degree Programs

Tulane offers a number of dual degree programs with the master's degree. In all instances, the student must fulfill the requirements for each degree in order for the dual degrees to be conferred.

Medical Excuses

Students are expected to attend all classes unless they are ill or prevented from attending by exceptional circumstances. Instructors may establish policies for attendance of their classes, which are announced at the beginning of the semester. Students who find it necessary to miss class must assume responsibility for making up the work covered during that session, including quizzes, examinations, and other exercises; they also are responsible for obtaining notes on material covered in lectures or other class sessions.

Students are responsible for notifying professors about absences that result from serious illnesses, injuries, or critical personal problems. However, medical excuses are not issued by the University Health Service, except in instances of illnesses or injuries that involve hospitalization.

Registration Policies and Procedures

Registration information for graduate students is the same as that for undergraduate students.

Required Withdrawal and Denial of Enrollment

A student may be required to withdraw from any course or from the university, temporarily or permanently, for any of the following reasons:

  • Work below the standard specified by the college in which the student is enrolled.
  • Violation of the honor system or other misconduct.
  • Possibility of danger to the health of the student or to other students if enrollment is continued.

The university reserves the right to forbid any student's continued enrollment without assignment of reason. The school, however, will provide a student with a statement of reason in writing from the department. An appellate procedure has been established in cases involving academic performance or possible infringement of academic freedom. Schools also have appellate procedures in cases involving non-reappointment of fellowships or scholarships when the formal terms of the first award have given reasonable expectation of renewal. Such procedures may also apply to cases in which a graduate, teaching, or research assistant, is relieved of a position before the end of the term of the appointment or is not reappointed when the formal terms of the first appointment have given reasonable expectation of reappointment. Copies of these procedures are available in the dean's office.

The Graduate Student Dismissal Policy, outlines the standards and review process for probation and dismissal on the basis of academic or research performance. It is distinct from policies concerning academic misconduct or student conduct based dismissals.

Resignation from a graduate program must be made in writing to the dean. The student who finds it necessary to withdraw or to resign should report to the dean's office to complete a withdrawal or resignation form.

Thesis Requirements

If a thesis is required for the master's degree, the subject of the thesis must be in the field of major study and must have the approval of the professor by whom the thesis is to be directed. The finished thesis must have the approval of the thesis committee.

Students are required to submit their completed theses to the University's Theses and Dissertations Archive ( Schools may require students to submit a paper copy of their thesis.

Thesis Committees

Master's thesis committees must consist of at least three faculty members, the majority of whom are Tulane faculty. Exceptions to this stipulation may be made by the appropriate school's dean.

Thesis Guidelines

This policy applies to all students pursuing a Master of Science, Master of Arts, or Master of Fine Arts degree.

Master’s degree students must complete at least 30 hours of coursework, for which they receive a grade, in order to receive the master’s degree. If the student fulfills that requirement entirely with coursework, no further action is needed. The student may still complete a thesis at their discretion and following the guidelines of their department or program. Departments may still require a thesis to complete the master’s degree, even if the student has 30 hours, provided the requirement is documented in the university course catalog.

If a student intends to take only 24 hours of coursework and complete a thesis to fulfill the requirements of their degree, the thesis must be graded. The student must enroll in 6 hours of graded thesis credit. The student may be graded on a Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory scale.