Graduate Degree Requirements

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.) 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.

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 in good standing.

To remain in good academic standing within a current degree or certificate program, graduate students must meet ALL of the following conditions:

  • Maintain an overall grade point average of 3.0 or above,
  • Earn no more than one grade of B-, and
  • Earn no grades below B- (including C+, C, F, XF, or WF).
Failure to meet any of the above conditions will call for the graduate program/department to review the student's academic performance and make a recommendation regarding academic probation or dismissal to the Graduate School dean. To satisfy the conditions above, the department must recommend the graduate student to retake the course or its equivalent and earn a grade of B or above. Upon repeat of the course or its equivalent, the student's transcript will show the grades for both attempts, but only the higher grade will be calculated in the GPA.

Catalog Year Requirements



Candidates for graduate degrees are expected to graduate under the provisions of the catalog in effect at the time of admission.

Students must complete the requirements of a graduate degree program based on the catalog year requirements in effect for that program at the time of admission. Transfer and readmitted students are expected to follow the catalog year requirements in effect at the time of readmission. Rare exceptions to the above policies may be considered with approval of the program director, department chair, and Dean of the Graduate School.

Progress Toward a Graduate Degree

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

  • 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 through* Gallaudet 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.
  • Students must also successfully complete the examination requirements of the program of study. Candidacy examinations are required in all doctoral-level programs and in many master's specialist degree 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. Master's and 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 masters level: Each masters-level program shall make explicit provision for a thesis option unless the program includes a required masters 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.