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Graduate Degree Requirements

Students are responsible for knowing all policies and procedures contained in this catalog and those procedures and requirements specific to the program of study. (Student handbooks are available in most academic departments.)  Requirements for degrees above the master's level are listed with individual program descriptions.

A graduate degree is conferred primarily on the basis of the quality and scope of the candidate's knowledge and demonstration of competence in the chosen field of study.

Students must complete a minimum number of credit hours of graduate work as defined in the program of study and be a student in good standing as defined by the Graduate Grading System Policy.

Transfer Credit Policy

Transfer Credit Limits

Each course that a student seeks to transfer must be reported on an official transcript from an institution recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA), and in each course the student must have earned a grade of "B" or higher. Although the student may request transfer credit into his/her Gallaudet graduate program, the program has the sole authority to accept transfer credits ranging from zero credits up to the maximum credit hours identified below.

  1. For graduate programs with credit hour requirements totaling 30 to 45 credits, a maximum of 9 credits may be considered for transfer credit.
  2. For graduate programs with credit hour requirements totaling 46 to 60 credit hours, a maximum of 12 credits may be considered for transfer. 
  3. For graduate programs with credit hour requirements totaling 61 to 75 credit hours, a maximum of 15 credits may be considered for transfer. 
  4. For graduate programs with credit hour requirements in excess of 75 credit hours, a maximum of 18 credits may be considered for transfer. 
  5. For students entering a Gallaudet doctoral program with a Master's degree from a college or university, the doctoral program coordinator has the authority to accept all credits that were earned as part of the Master's degree for transfer.

Petition Required

Applicants must make a formal request for the transfer of specific courses from other colleges and universities into their Gallaudet program. The request to transfer credit must be made using the Student Action form by the end of the student's third semester in a graduate program. The transfer request must be approved by the program coordinator and the department chair. Any exception to the specified limits must be considered and approved by the Dean of the Graduate School.

Transfer of Credits During Matriculation as a Gallaudet Student

Occasionally, students must take graduate-level courses at other institutions as part of their studies at Gallaudet University. These courses may be taken in the Consortium of Universities of the Washington Metropolitan Area or at another college or university. These credits will be transferred into a student's graduate program at Gallaudet and do not count against the transfer credit limits identified above. Courses taken at other colleges or universities that are not required by a Gallaudet graduate program may not be transferred into a Gallaudet program.

Five-Year Limit

In order to transfer courses taken at another college or university into a Gallaudet graduate program, transfer credits must have been earned no later than five years prior to the student's start or entrance date into his/her respective Gallaudet graduate program.

Transfer Credits and GPA Calculations

With the exception of courses taken in the Consortium of Universities of the Washington Metropolitan Area, grades for courses transferred for credit are neither recorded nor used in computing a student's grade-point average.

Examination Requests

Students must also successfully complete the examination requirements of the program of study. All requirements for the master's degree must be met within five years from the date of matriculation in the program of study. The time limits of doctoral programs vary. Consult program chairs for details.

Degree candidacy is the benchmark by which departmental decisions are made regarding a student's continuation in a degree program. Acceptance into a graduate program does not imply admission to degree candidacy. Each program specifies the conditions to be met for advancement to candidacy.

Typically these conditions must be met before the end of the first year of study. Students who have met these conditions must file an Application for Degree Candidacy with the Dean of the Graduate School. Although advancement to candidacy is not a guarantee of a degree, it does indicate that the student is considered capable of meeting degree requirements.

Graduate students must meet the following graduate program minimal degree requirements:

Progress Toward a Graduate Degree

  • Residency: In honoring the university's bilingual mission and vision, the Graduate School's residency policy  requires  at  least  70% of  any  degree  program's  coursework to be taken at or throughGallaudet University. 

    Each graduate degree program may impose additional residency  requirements, which must  be  specified in its program  of study.

    *'Through' can mean on­site, online, or through other technology-dependent delivery formats. 'Through' can also mean via consortium cross-­registration.

  • Candidacy examinations are required in all doctoral-level programs and in many master's degree and education-specialist programs.
    All programs requiring a candidacy examination must specify the conditions, including timelines, for advancement to candidacy in the current catalog and/or in the program's graduate handbook. Students who successfully meet candidacy requirements must also file an Application for Degree Candidacy with the Dean of the Graduate School. Although advancement to candidacy does not guarantee a degree, it does indicate that the student has successfully met this examination requirement.
    Master's and education specialist-level programs that do not require a candidacy examination must determine a student's eligibility to advance to degree status with a clearly defined alternative approach. Timelines for satisfying this approach must also be specified for both full-time and part-time students (if applicable) in the current catalog and/or in the program's graduate handbook and disseminated to students.

  • Comprehensive examination:  This is required for doctoral and specialist-level degree programs. Near the end of the entire degree program, the student is asked to demonstrate mastery of the subject matter. The nature and extent of the examination are up to the department, but it is expected to be substantial. The comprehensive examination should also include a professional self-assessment and a program review by the student. The Dean of the Graduate School may participate in comprehensive examinations in any department at his or her option.

  • Proficiency in ASL:  Graduates of Gallaudet University graduate programs are expected to have proficiency in American Sign Language. The Graduate School recognizes that professionals in different fields will be expected to demonstrate different levels of skill, depending on their professional setting. Therefore, each graduate department sets its own requirements for its candidates for graduate degrees, based upon these requirements. Students are encouraged to check with individual departments for the most current proficiency levels required for the particular program of interest.

Graduate Thesis/Dissertation

  • Thesis option at the master's level:  Each master's-level program shall make explicit provision for a thesis option, unless the program includes a required master's thesis. Specific requirements for design and format are available from the Office of the Dean of the Graduate School.

  • Dissertation/doctoral research paper:  Each Ph.D. program shall require a formal research-based dissertation. Specific requirements for design and format are available from the Office of the Dean of the Graduate School.
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