Transfer from Master’s to Doctoral Programs without Completing Master’s Requirements

Transfer directly into a doctoral program is normally accomplished after completion of the first year of study at the master’s level and will not be permitted after completion of the second year. Transfers may not be retroactive.

Transfers can be requested for January, May, and September.  Plan your Supervisory Committee Meetings to coincide with your planned transfer date.  To avoid delays, it is best to advise your committee as early as possible if you will be requesting a transfer to PhD.

In order to request a transfer to PhD a full committee meeting must be held to request the transfer, and the committee must unanimously approve the transfer.  A fully updated Annual Report must be submitted to the committee prior to this meeting at least 4 days in advance.  You must also be sure that you are eligible to transfer in accordance with the requirements listed below.

Form: Transfer from Master’s to Doctoral Graduate Program

Students may be eligible to transfer from a master’s program into a related doctoral program (“fast track”) if they have  completed the following requirements:

  • Hold a bachelor’s degree, and have completed a minimum of one year of study in a master’s program with 9 credits at the 500-level or above and of first class standing (80% or better).
  • Students entering the doctoral program after partial completion of the master’s degree must, during the first two years of study at the graduate level, complete a total of 12 credits with a first-class average (of which at least 9 credits must be at the 500-level or above and at least 9 credits must be of first-class standing) to maintain registration as a doctoral student.


  • (for Ph.D.) clear evidence of research ability or potential;
  • (for Ed.D.) first class standing and first class standing in such prerequisite work as may have been required, and five years professional experience; or
  • (for D.M.A.) outstanding ability in performance or composition.

Additional Information

Students must be in good academic and financial standing.

If a student transfers from a master’s program to a doctoral program without completing the master’s degree, the start of the doctoral program will be the date of first registration in the master’s program.

Transfer from Doctoral to Master’s Programs

Form: Transfer from Doctoral to Master’s Program

Students may apply to transfer from doctoral to master’s programs. Transfers may be approved if they meet the following conditions:

  • Ideally, the transfer is initiated early in the student’s doctoral program.
  • The transfer should be justified on the grounds of its appropriateness for the student’s personal or professional goals. These should be discussed by the student and his or her advisor.
  • Transfer requires the full agreement of both student and graduate program.

Transfers between programs involving a change of discipline must be treated as new admissions.


Transfers from doctoral to master’s programs may have implications for student funding.

Students must complete all the requirements for the master’s program in order to be awarded their degree.