Allow students to earn multiple (graduate) "similar" degrees without petition

Students who already have a degree must petition to earn a second similar degree. For example, if a student has an MS in the sciences from the UA or other university and wants to get a second MS in a science or engineering field, the department has to write a petition and explain how the degrees are different. While we shouldn't be encouraging too much duplication, this is generally a needless restriction on students who want to attend the UA and earn degrees. (Submitted June 2014)


Carefully Considered



Submitted by carnie on
I appreciate your concern, but this is actually a standard practice nationwide. The goal of it is to ensure that people don't simply accumulate degrees in nearly identical areas when they already have the qualifications they need. The number of students who can be admitted to a graduate program is limited, so allowing duplicate degrees takes away from the opportunities of others.

That said, we recognize that there are times when a person with an MS in, say biology, might want a different MS or one in a non-overlapping medical field. The petition process is a way to pull out those very reasonable requests from the unreasonable ones.

There's no way to do this in a blanket fashion, each student and each case is different. In many cases it requires the eye of a disciplinary expert to evaluate whether the programs are sufficiently different. As an example, could most people say whether a masters degree in computational linguistics is really different from a masters in experimental linguistics? That's a matter for an expert and it requires a close look at the individual student's record.

We try to make this as painless as possible. It requires a letter of support from the admitting department and a brief description of how the programs differ. We also try to make these decisions quickly so that the student is not left in limbo.

If programs or students have concerns about the process, please don't hesitate to contact us at the Graduate College. We're here to help students navigate processes like this.
Andrew Carnie
Dean of the Graduate College

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