Questions Frequently Asked by Graduate Students


Graduate students are famous for juggling a number of priorities: classes, research, undergraduate mentoring or teaching, and department commitments to name just a few. Somewhere in there you have a social life too. It’s easy to forget some of the administrative requirements on the way to degree completion. To help you out, we’ve put together the answers to a few frequently asked questions.

How many hours may I transfer from another university?

Master’s students may transfer up to one half of the program (normally 15 to 18 hours),provided the courses are being transferred from an accredited institution, are graduate level with satisfactory grades and have not been used for any other degree. Professional courses may not betransferred toward a graduate degree. All transfer credits must be approved by the academic department.

Doctoral students may use graduate credit hours received from an institution other than UNL to fulfill up to half of the total credit hours on the program of studies required by the supervisory committee to meet the degree requirements. The minimum number of credits required to obtain a doctorate at UNL is 90. These courses are reviewed by the supervisory committee at the time of the approval of the Program of Studies. All credits must be from graduate level, non-professional courses.

How long do I have to complete my degree?

Master’s students have ten years from the first course listed on the memorandum of courses to complete the degree. Courses exceeding the ten-year limit may not be used toward a master’s degree.

Doctoral students have eight years from the end of the semester in which their program of studies is approved by the Graduate Studies Office. All coursework,including any required research/language tools, must be completed, comprehensive exams taken and the dissertation written, defended and deposited within that time frame.

When do I need to file my memorandum of courses or program of studies?

Master’s students need to submit the memorandum of courses prior to completion of more than one-half of the program, typically 15 to 18 credit hours (incompletes and no reports count toward this number).

Doctoral and specialist students need to submit the program of studies with 45 hours remaining to be taken. The Appointment of Supervisory Committee form should be filed for approval before the program of studies is submitted.

How can I change my memorandum of courses or program of studies?

Your adviser should send an email to Terri Eastin at (master’s) or Kelsey Sims at (doctoral) stating the original course(s) listed and the name/number of the replacement course(s).

Am I eligible to use the full-time status form?

Doctoral students who have been granted candidacy or thesis-seeking master’s students may be eligible to submit the Certification of Full-Time Graduate Status form for each semester and, if enrolling for summer sessions, one for the entire summer term. A full-time status form indicates that a student is full-time while carrying less than 9 hours. The form is located on the Graduate Studies website. Doctoral students may use this form for a period of two consecutive years (six times); master’s students may use this form for one year (a maximum of three times).

Who can be my outside representative on the doctoral supervisory committee?

Supervisory committees for doctoral students must consist of fourUniversity of Nebraska graduate faculty members. The outside representative must be a graduate faculty member outside the student’s program/department but within the University of Nebraska system on any of the campuses. Courtesy members are ineligible to serve as outside representatives.

What are the deadlines for the next graduation?

The Graduate Studies Web site provides all kinds of important information about degree completion, including the necessary forms and relevant deadlines. Select your graduate term for appropriate deadlines: Master’s, Doctoral, or Specialist.

If you have additional questions, please contact Kelsey Sims, doctoral programs specialist,, or Terri Eastin, master’s programs specialist,