Graduate Studies

Course Levels

Courses by number level:

  • 800s and 900s: These are graduate courses. 800-level courses without counterpart 400-level or lower numbers, as well as 900-level courses, are open exclusively to graduate students except by permission of the Dean for Graduate Studies.
  • 500s, 600s, and 700s: These are professional courses in law, dentistry, and architecture. Law courses carry graduate credit only if the letter “G” follows the course number.
  • 400 or lower: These are undergraduate courses and cannot be applied toward a graduate degree.

A student who enrolls in a course must have completed the general prerequisite, including any specific prerequisite indicated for the course. In graduate-level courses, there is a required differentiation of faculty expectation regarding course work, student performance and grading criteria. In 800-level courses with an undergraduate-level counterpart, each of these differentiated expectations must be described in the course syllabus.

Credit by Examination

Credit by examination cannot be earned in graduate level courses or applied to graduate degree programs.

Transfer Credit

For any graduate degree, at least 50 percent of the minimum number of graduate credits required for the degree must be completed at the University of Nebraska.

To be accepted as transfer credits, graduate credits must be:

  • Earned at an institution fully accredited to offer graduate work in the field of the student’s major.
  • For graduate coursework, not professional coursework.
  • To be accepted toward a master's degree: Not older than 10 years or applied toward any previous graduate degree.
  • To be accepted toward a doctoral degree: Not applied toward any previously completed doctoral degree.
  • Approved by the graduate committee for quality, suitability, and being equal to or superior to offerings available at UNL.
  • Approved by Graduate Studies.

It is the responsibility of the student to ensure that official transcripts of graduate work taken elsewhere are received by Graduate Studies well before the student plans to complete all other requirements for the UNL degree.

Graduate Credit for Undergraduates

Seniors at UNL may be permitted up to 12 hours of credit for graduate courses taken in addition to the courses necessary for their undergraduate degree, provided that these credits are earned the calendar year prior to receipt of the baccalaureate. Holding graduate credit keeps a senior in an undergraduate college; the student should consult Scholarships and Financial Aid regarding continuation of any undergraduate scholarships or financial aid.

  • Before registering for graduate courses, seniors must obtain approval from Graduate Studies using the Grad Credit for Undergraduate Students form.
  • Courses taken prior to completion of a bachelor's degree do not always transfer as graduate credit to other institutions, nor can there be a guarantee from Graduate Studies that these courses will apply toward a particular graduate program.
  • The general prerequisite for taking 800-level courses as an undergraduate is at least 12 hours of work in the same department or area of study. The general prerequisite for 900-level courses is at least 18 hours in the same department or area of study.
  • Intercampus enrollment allows undergraduates at other University of Nebraska campuses to take graduate-level coursework at UNL. Any arrangement to hold for graduate credit must be made at the student’s bachelor's-degree campus; UNL can certify graduate credit only for those students graduating from UNL. Students from outside the University of Nebraska must wait until they qualify as graduate students to receive graduate credit.


"Double-counting" refers to the use of a limited number of credit hours toward the requirements of two separate degrees or programs. This allows the student to earn two degrees for fewer total credit hours than would normally be required if both programs were taken independently.

At the departmental level, graduate committees may stipulate that credits for core-requirement courses cannot be double-counted in their programs.

Established Dual Degree Programs:  In general, no more than nine credits may be double-counted. Both degrees must be completed within the time allowed and awarded at the same commencement. If awarded at separate commencements, double-counting is not allowed.

Two Master's Degrees:  Students pursuing two independent master’s degrees may double-count, with prior approval of both graduate committees, no more than nine credits. Both degrees must be completed within the time allowed and awarded at the same commencement. If awarded at separate commencements, double-counting is not allowed.

Master's and Doctorate (Distinct Disciplines):  In general, no more than nine credits may be double-counted. Both degrees are completed within the time allowed. The master’s degree must be awarded before the doctoral degree.

Master's En Route to Doctorate (Same Discipline):  Upon recommendation by the graduate program, a doctoral candidate may earn a master’s degree in the same discipline, upon completion of the master’s degree requirements or upon successful passing of the comprehensive exam. The degree may not be awarded retroactively.

Graduate and Professional (e.g., PhD-JD, MCRP-MArch):  Generally, there can be no more than a 30% credit overlap between degrees based on the lower credit requirements. Both degrees must be completed within the time allowed.

Graduate Degree and Graduate Certificate:  Certificate courses may be used toward the completion of a degree as determined by the departmental or interdepartmental Graduate Committee administering the certificate program. Contact the program’s Graduate Chair for more information.

Two Graduate Certificates:  Double-counting is not allowed.

Accelerated Master's:  In general, no more than 12 credits may be double-counted between the bachelor's and master's programs.