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Degree and Non-Degree Credit
Programs in Engineering and Science

Degree Programs | Non-Degree Programs

Degree Programs

Coursework leading to master’s degrees are available through UNITE. These programs are designed for those who already have received a bachelor’s degree in an accredited and related engineering or science curriculum.  Working professionals typically complete a master's degree in four-to-five years when choosing UNITE for all class work for their degree.

Students may complete a master's degree through UNITE course offerings in two areas of study (Electrical Engineering and Computer Science) or may combine UNITE offerings with on-campus offerings toward a degree in a number of programs, primarily College of Science and Engineering programs.  Students work closely with a program advisor in his/her program toward degree completion, adhering to program and graduate school requirements.

Research Degrees - Master of Science (M.S.)
The master of science degree, the traditional master’s degree for engineers and scientists, is customarily for persons who anticipate entering research and development. It is also the standard required degree for continuation onto a Ph.D. degree program.

The degree is offered under three options:

  • Plan A (Thesis) program option which involves the completion of minimum number of graduate level coursework credits and a thesis research project
  • Plan B (Project) program option which involves the completion of a larger number of minimum coursework credits and a professional project or paper (Note: Computer Science only; the Plan B option is not offered for Electrical Engineering)
  • Plan C (Coursework Projects) program option which involves a minimum number of graduate level coursework credits and coursework projects

M.S. program options vary by department.  You may learn more about specific program offerings through departmental resources available on our Program Resources page.

Professional Degrees - Master in Computer Science (MCS)
The MCS degree (Master’s of Computer Science) is a course work only degree. Most applicants to this degree are interested in expanding their skills but are not interested in the research aspects of computer science. The minimum GPA for an MCS student is 3.0.

Students must complete 31 credits and the requirements are similar to those of the MS degree. The breadth requirement must be satisfied with 3 courses in the 3 areas; 1 credit of Colloquium, 6 credits of a related field or minor as well as two CS 8000 level (advanced graduate level) courses in areas of interest. Additional coursework needed to satisfy the 31 credit requirement should be courses that help to form a cohesive program that are relevant and provide the background and depth expected of a Master’s student.

You may learn more about specific program offerings through departmental resources available on our Program Resources page.

Additionally, students may find courses required for doctorate-level degrees available through UNITE.

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Non-Degree Programs

Registration for Non-Degree Graduate Students
You may be interested in taking graduate courses now as a non-degree student that will be used later for a graduate degree program at the University of Minnesota. If this is the case, you MUST REGISTER as a Non-Degree Graduate status for courses to be used for a graduate program.

This classification is appropriate for those students who:

  • Need coursework to show on a graduate level transcript; wish to take a course or two before they decide whether to pursue a graduate degree,
  • Wish to take courses while awaiting admission to a graduate degree,

Note that in all cases, no more than 12 credits taken as a Non-Degree Graduate student will transfer into a CSE graduate program.

Eligibility is open to students who:

  • Have never attended the University of Minnesota or who are no longer active in a University of Minnesota degree-seeking program.
  • Wish to take courses prior to admission to a Graduate level degree-seeking program (for example, M.A., Ed.D., or Ph.D. degrees).
  • Need coursework to appear on a graduate level transcript.
  • Want to take courses that are assessed at a graduate or professional school tuition rate.
  • Who are not registering in another non-degree-seeking option.

Admission process:

  • Students must work with the department (UNITE) offering the course to gain admission to non-degree status. The Graduate School is not involved in this enrollment option. .


  • Students cannot be active or enrolled in any other program, whether graduate or undergraduate, at the University.
  • Admittance to the program is for one term.
  • A new Request for Graduate Credit form must be completed and approved each term.
  • All courses taken within the term are charged the graduate or professional school tuition rate regardless of whether they are taken for graduate credit.
  • Consult the program for the number of credits allowed as transfer credits by the University of Minnesota Graduate School.


  • Follow the UNITE regular registration process
  • The effective date on the Request for Graduate Credit is the date the departmental representative approves the form.

Tuition and fees:

  • Tuition and fees are assessed at the graduate school rate with the exception of the following programs: industrial relations, public affairs (please consult college for rate), agriculture, business taxation, medicine, public health. Courses in these programs are assessed at the tuition rate for the respective program. Students may choose to pay the student services fee. You will receive your bill from Student Finance by e-mail.

Note: All registration deadlines, late fees, and refund schedules are applicable. See OneStop (at Image to indiate a link to a web page outside the UNITE web site, which opens in a new window.) for details.

Registration for Non-Degree Undergraduate Students
Although the programs outlined above offer several different paths for continuing education in science and technology, a number of engineers and scientists have no degree interests. You may be interested only in taking specific courses to meet specific needs with no intention of ever using these credits toward a graduate degree. If this is the case, you should seek admission to the University as a Non-Degree Undergraduate student. You may obtain a Non-Degree Undergraduate application form from the UNITE site. This form is then submitted to the UNITE Administrative office for processing.

Non-Degree Undergraduate application forms should be processed no later than three weeks before the beginning of the term, so that the application can be processed before the registration deadline.

Non-Degree Undergraduate students may not take 8-xxx level courses without approval of the originating department.

As of Spring Semester 2001, courses taken as a Non-Degree Undergraduate WILL NOT be accepted toward a graduate program at the University of Minnesota.

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