3.11 Master's Degrees while in Doctoral Status

A. Master’s Degrees in Same Field as Doctoral Degree
B. Master’s Degrees in Different Field as Doctoral Degree
C. Credit-Hour Requirements for Master’s Degree while in Doctoral Status
D. Completion of Master’s Requirements while in Doctoral Status
E. Eligibility for Graduate Student Support Plan Tuition Support

A. Master’s Degrees in the Same Field as the Doctoral Degree

Students admitted to doctoral programs at NC State may be awarded a master’s degree in the same field as the doctoral program provided that all of the following conditions are satisfied:

  1. The student does not already have a master’s degree in the same field.
  2. All Graduate School, College, and Department/Program requirements for the master’s degree are satisfied.
  3. The graduate program may require students to transfer into the master’s program from the doctoral program (or other master’s). Once a doctoral student is transferred into a master’s program, the student must complete the requirements for the master’s degree before returning to the doctoral program.
  4. All requirements must be completed before the six-year time limit for master’s degrees.
  5. The minimum of 72 credit hours required for the doctoral degree is met, including the credits used for the master’s degree.
  6. International doctoral students who wish to obtain a master’s degree in a different program from their doctoral program with the intention of applying for Optional Practical Training in the field of the master’s curriculum must transfer to the new curriculum at the master’s level to be eligible for this training.
    • International doctoral graduate students must communicate their intentions to the DGP in each department as well as to the Office of International Services (OIS). Failure to do so could result in a violation of non-immigrant status and subsequent ineligibility for any type of employment.
    • Students in F-1 status who transfer to a new master’s program must obtain new I-20.

B. Master’s Degree in a Different Field from the Doctoral Degree

Graduate programs have the option of making their master’s degrees available to students pursuing doctoral degrees in other programs without the students transferring to the master’s program. For doctoral students to get degrees in master’s programs, the following conditions must be satisfied.

  1. The student may not have a master’s degree or a doctorate in the field of the proposed master’s.
  2. The student’s request must be approved by the DGP of the student’s doctoral program, the DGP of the proposed master’s program, and the Graduate School.
  3. The student must make satisfactory academic progress toward the fulfillment of the doctoral degree requirements as outlined in the doctoral Plan of Work (this may consist only of doctoral research credits). Such students are limited to six credit hours per semester towards the master’s degree.
  4. A minimum of 72 credit hours is required for the doctoral degree, including the credits used for a master’s degree at NC State University in the same field. The maximum number of credit hours that can be used from master’s level work is 36.
  5. All Graduate School, College and Department/Program requirements for the master’s degree must be satisfied.
  6. International doctoral students who wish to obtain a master’s degree in a different program from their doctoral program with the intention of applying for Optional Practical Training in the field of the master’s curriculum must transfer to the new curriculum at the master’s level to be eligible for this training.
    • International doctoral graduate students must communicate their intentions to the DGP in each department as well as to the Office of International Services (OIS). Failure to do so could result in a violation of non-immigrant status and subsequent ineligibility for any type of employment.
    • Students in F-1 status who transfer to a new master’s program must obtain new I-20.
  7. In rare instances where a student wishes to enroll in more than one master’s program while enrolled in doctoral status, they must consult with the DGPs of the relevant programs and to be approved requires the documentation presented above.

C. Credit-Hour Requirements for Master’s Degrees while in Doctoral Status

  1. A minimum of 18 hours must be unique to each master’s degree, but up to 36 hours can be shared with the doctoral program.
  2. Combining credit hours from two or more master’s degrees is not permitted to satisfy the total doctoral credit hour requirement; i.e. courses from the master’s degrees are not additive.

D. Completion of Master’s Degree Requirements while in Doctoral Status

  1. The DGP for the master’s program must notify the Graduate School that the student has met, or will meet in the current semester, the requirements for the master’s degree by submitting:
    • a Plan of Work for that degree,
    • an approved patent agreement (via Student Self-Service in MyPack Portal) that includes the names of the members of the master’s advisory committee (or advisor for Option B programs), and
    • a Plan of Work or a list of courses that are to be used to satisfy the master’s requirements.
  2. It is the responsibility of the student to meet all deadlines for graduation with a master’s degree. The master’s degree should be awarded when the degree requirements are fulfilled.

E. Eligibility for Graduate Student Support Plan Tuition Support

The number of semesters of eligibility for tuition support under the Graduate Student Support Plan does not change as a result of the student’s electing to pursue a master’s degree in another program along the way to the Ph.D. The Graduate School maintains current online information and requirements for the Graduate Student Support Plan.