Guidelines for Combined Bachelor’s/Master’s Degree Pathways

Four UH Manoa students in their graduation regalia

Minimum Credits: A minimum of 141 credits total is required for both degrees, including a minimum of 21 credits of master’s degree coursework (inclusive of thesis or capstone credits) not double counted.

Double Counting: Up to nine (9) credits of coursework, identified by the program, may be double-counted for both the bachelor’s and master’s degree, including two (2) 600-level courses and up to one (1) 400-level course.

  • The courses to be double counted must be:
    • Identified by the program in advance. A broad list of options may not be used;
    • Acceptable for meeting both bachelor’s and master’s degree requirements;
    • Passed with a grade of B or better;
    • Taken at UHM (not transferred in from another university); and
    • Courses that are not x99 courses, practicum, internship, or related courses.
  • Once approved, these courses may not be substituted or changed. Modifications to the pathway require prior approval by the Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs.

Thesis/Non-thesis Options: At least 12 credits at the 600-level or above are required for the thesis option, and at least 18 credits at the 600-level or above are required for the non-thesis (capstone) option (excluding 699 and 700 courses).

Eligibility (Gateway Course(s)): Programs must identify “gateway” course(s) within the bachelor’s degree program to determine eligibility for the pathway. Undergraduate majors must pass the identified gateway courses with a minimum grade of B or higher in order to be considered for the pathway.

Application: Deadlines vary by program, however applications are generally expected in the junior year (5th or 6th semester). Students must submit the Graduate Admissions Application and fee as well as all required program admission materials (including GRE/GMAT scores, etc., if required by the program) by the deadline.

Admission: Accepted students will receive notice of “admission,” typically in the spring of the junior year (6th semester). The following semester, which would generally be the fall of senior year (7th semester), pathway students begin the double-counted coursework at the undergraduate tuition rate. Pathway students are considered dual program students. An overall cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher (upon graduation with the baccalaureate degree) is required to apply for and continue in the graduate program.

Bachelor’s Degree: The bachelor’s degree is conferred after successful completion of all required coursework, including meeting the minimum upper division credit requirement (currently 45 credits) for the undergraduate degree (ideally in the 8th semester). Note: Per the Upper Division Credit Policy (M5.320), students pursuing a baccalaureate degree in Biology or Chemistry must complete either a minimum of 45 upper division credits, or a combination of no fewer than 25 upper division credits and 35 major-required lower division credits.

Graduate Enrollment: Pathway students generally begin their 9th semester as “graduate students,” and continue the master’s degree program at the graduate tuition rate. Continuous enrollment after conferral of the bachelor’s degree is required (unless on approved leave of absence after the first semester as a graduate student). If the baccalaureate degree is not conferred, graduate status will be inactivated and the student may not continue to take courses applicable to the graduate program.

Leaves of Absence: Until the bachelor’s degree is conferred, pathway students should follow the undergraduate procedures to request a leave of absence (LOA), if needed. Graduate students, once classified, must be enrolled for at least one semester before becoming eligible for a LOA.

Approval: The Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs approves combined degree pathways upon the recommendation of the faculty in the department, the respective Dean, the Graduate Division (including the Graduate Council), and the Office of Undergraduate Education.

Approval Procedures:

Undergraduate Program Advising: Interested and eligible pathway students will need to be advised appropriately throughout this process, and Graduate Student Services must be kept informed about pathway students’ application and baccalaureate degree attainment. Specifically, a list of eligible pathway students shall be sent to Graduate Student Services, the University Registrar, and the Financial Aid Office as early as possible in the term in which they will be submitting their graduate admission application. In the term of degree conferral for the bachelor’s degree, a list of all projected pathway students admitted into the graduate program will be sent to Graduate Student Services, the University Registrar, and the Financial Aid Office.

Undergraduate Excess Credit Policy: UHM undergraduate seniors may also earn credits toward master’s degrees for certain courses completed during the final two semesters of undergraduate study. These credits would be in addition to the double-counted credits identified in the pathway. To apply, credits from upper division or graduate courses must be in excess of the bachelor’s degree requirements. Pathway students may take advantage of this policy as long as the total number of excess credits, plus double-counted credits, also meets the graduate division credit policy (i.e., more than half of the total number of credits used to fulfill master’s degree requirements must be earned at UHM while enrolled as a classified graduate student, for example, 16 or more credits for a 30-credit master’s degree must be earned at UHM as a classified graduate student). Programs may include undergraduate excess credits in the pathway only if the majority of pathway students are capable of successfully completing excess credit courses in the last year of their bachelor’s degree.

Please review the Excess Credit Policy for more information:

For more information, please contact: