General Degree Requirements

Programs of Study

Every degree candidate must have on file in the Registrar's Office an approved Program of Study form. Students complete a Program of Study form with an advisor in the academic department in which the graduate program is hosted. The Program of Study form is valid for six years. A Program of Study form should be completed by the end of a student's first semester of graduate study.

In the process of earning a degree, students must complete requirements for that degree and any appropriate state certification requirements. If certification or statutory requirements change and additional requirements become effective during the time a student is enrolled in a program, the new requirements take precedence over previously existing degree or certification standards.

Some degree programs require a capstone experience such as a thesis or project, internship, portfolio, comprehensive exam or external certification.

Requesting a Change to a Program of Study

Students may request a change in their Program Study in the following categories:

  1. Change from certificate program to a master’s degree
  2. Change from a master's degree to a certificate program
  3. Declare a second graduate program of study (certificate or master’s degree)
  4. Change program of study from one degree program to another
  5. Change from non-degree seeking to degree seeking

The student must meet all of the regular Graduate School admissions criterion as well as requirements for acceptance to the specified graduate program. Program specific requirements are given in the graduate program section of the Graduate Catalog or on the Graduate School web site:

A student with a declared certificate program of study which has an associated master’s degree program may request acceptance into that degree. However, a student may not have both a certificate and master's degree program of study in the same area on file simultaneously. Upon acceptance into the degree program the certificate program of study will be dropped.

A student with an awarded Missouri Western graduate certificate program of study which has an associated master’s level degree program may request acceptance into the master's program and earn that degree.

A student with a declared or awarded Missouri Western master’s level degree program of study which has an associated certificate program may not simultaneously declare or earn that certificate. A student who is unable to complete a master's level degree program of study that has an associate certificat program may drop the master's program and declare the associated certificate.

A student with a declared program of study or awarded Missouri Western MAS-Applied Science degree may not declare or earn the Professional Skills certificate.

A student with a declared program of study or awarded Missouri Western master’s level degree may request acceptance into a certificate program which is not associated with the master’s program.

Students seeking a second concentration within the same degree program, such as MAS Applied Science, MAS Assessment or within the MSN or MBA, must complete a minimum of 12 credit hours of unique course work between the two areas.

A completed Program of Study Form for the graduate program of interest should be submitted with the change of program form including signatures of approval from the Graduate Program Director and the Graduate Dean.

Graduate Certificate Programs

Missouri Western State University offers graduate certificate program in the following areas:

  • Assessment: Autism Spectrum Disorder
  • Assessment: TESOL
  • Digital Media
  • Forensic Investigation
  • Nurse Educator
  • Professional Skills
  • Teaching of Writing
  • Technical Communication

General Requirements for Graduate Certificate Programs

To earn a graduate certificate, students must:

  • Complete the required courses for the certificate program;
  • Earn a minimum of 15 credit hours (500 level and above);
  • Earn an overall GPA of at least 3.0 with no more than 6 credits of C

Graduate Degree Programs

Missouri Western State University offers sixteen graduate degree programs, with majors in various academic fields. The graduate degrees offered are:

  • Master of Applied Arts
  • Master of Applied Science
  • Master of Business Administration
  • Master of Information Management
  • Master of Science
  • Master of Science in Nursing

The Master of Applied Arts (MAA) degree programs are generally focused in the fields of humanities and the arts, with the applied component adding specializations in the use technology or technical skills.

The Master of Applied Science (MAS) degree is considered a professional major degree and is recommended to anyone intending to enroll in continuing graduate study or work in the professional world of science or technical areas.

The Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree is a professional degree that provides both theoretical and practical training for a better understanding of general business management, accounting, marketing and finance practices.

The Master of Information Management (MIM) degree focuses on the management and administration of information systems with an emphasis on business and organizational applications.

The Master of Science (MS) degree is a traditional postgraduate degree usually focused in science or technology fields, often with a focus on research and solving technical problems.

The Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) degree is based on more concentrated and specialized areas of study in the Nursing profession. The MSN is designed for students who want to pursue advancement in leadership or supervising areas of nursing or developing nurses who want to become involved in educating future nurses.

General Requirements for Graduate Degree Programs

All Missouri Western master's programs must contain a minimum of 30 graduate credits. Graduate certificate programs must contain a minimum of 15 graduate credits.

Requirements for completion of each graduate degree or certificate are specified in the Program of Study.

A student must:

  • Complete the course work specified in the degree or certificate's Program of Study
  • Earn an overall GPA of at least 3.0 with no more than 6 credits of C
  • Complete capstone experience if required in the Program of Study

Multiple Certificates or Master’s Level Degrees

A student seeking an additional certificate or master’s level degree or requesting to change to a new certificate or degree must meet the admission criteria for the new program and receive approval from the graduate program director and dean of the graduate school.

A student seeking an additional certificate or master’s level degree will be required to complete a minimum of 12 credit hours in approved, unique coursework.  The student must meet all of the admissions requirements and receive approval from the graduate program coordinator and dean of the graduate school.

Transfer Credit

A maximum of 6 approved credits of graduate work can be transferred to Missouri Western from another regionally accredited university and counted toward a Missouri Western graduate degree. Upon approval of the graduate program director and Graduate Dean, more than 6 hours can be transferred under special circumstances (e.g., student already has a Master’s degree, or coursework was taken at another Missouri state funded institution). All transfer credits will be counted toward the graduate overall GPA. 

To request acceptance of graduate credit from another college or university a Graduate Transfer Credit Form must be submitted to the Graduate School Office for approval.

The intent of transfer credits is to allow students who have completed coursework at other institutions prior to attending Missouri Western to count those credits. Courses taken at other institutions after admission to a Missouri Western graduate program generally will not be approved.

Satisfaction of MAS Professional Core with MBA Degree

Students who have completed an MBA from a regionally accredited college or university prior to matriculation to the Graduate School may request to the graduate program director and Graduate Dean that their completed MBA count for the entire MAS professional core, with the exception of MAS 695 Graduate Colloquium. This request must be made and approved prior to completion of the student's first semester at Missouri Western.

Courses Taken While Non-Degree Seeking

A maximum of 6 graduate credits taken at Missouri Western while at non-degree seeking status may be counted toward a graduate degree, unless a student is accepted to an accelerated graduate program.

Application for Graduation

To be considered as a candidate for graduation, the student must declare candidacy by submitting an Application for Graduation to the Registrar's Office. Applications are available in Eder 102 or at Payment is required at the time of application; applications are subject to late fees if submitted after the fifth day of the Fall/Spring semester and second day of the Summer term.  To assure the candidates’ records are reviewed by the Registrar's Office prior to the final semester the following deadlines must be observed:

Fall graduation July 1
Spring graduation October 1
Summer graduation March 1

Students must submit documentation showing that all requirements have been met (i.e. submission of transcripts with transfer work completed, exit exams, makeup of incomplete grades) within 60 days of the end of the semester in which they plan to graduate. Students who do not meet this deadline, must file a new Application for Graduation along with the required documentation.


Commencement is held in December and May. Participation in commencement is voluntary on the part of the student.

Students who complete all degree requirements in the Fall will be eligible to attend the DECEMBER commencement ceremony. Students who complete all degree requirements in the Spring or Summer will be eligible to attend the MAY commencement ceremony. Exceptions must be approved by the Dean of the Graduate School. 

Commencement attendance information is required on the Application for Graduation form found in the Registrar's Office or at

Accelerated Graduate Programs

Accelerated graduate programs are designed to allow Missouri Western undergraduates to apply for early admission to the Graduate School and acceptance into a specified graduate program.

Accelerated programs allow accepted students to begin taking graduate coursework before completion of their undergraduate degree. An accelerated graduate program should allow a student to complete a master's program 1-2 semesters earlier than is typical for a particular graduate program.

An accelerated graduate program will allow an accepted undergraduate student to begin taking course work toward a graduate degree during the senior year (after earning 90 undergraduate credits). Students must have a minimum overall undergraduate GPA of 3.0, and meet all of the requirements (except for completion of their undergraduate degree) for a degree seeking graduate student and any program specific requirements. An individual graduate program may have specific requirements for students to be accepted into an accelerated graduate program.

Undergraduate students accepted into an accelerated graduate program are exempt from taking a maximum of 6 graduate credit hours, and the restriction of only enrolling in 500 level courses.

Students accepted into an accelerated graduate program may take up to 12 credits of graduate course work (500 or 600 level) during the time in which they are recognized as a senior student. Undergraduates must complete all the requirements for and graduate with their bachelor’s degree before continuing on with additional graduate course work.

Failure to complete the bachelor’s degree during the accelerated period will result in a registration hold being placed on the student’s ability to enroll in additional graduate courses.

Graduate course work will be billed at the regular graduate tuition rate. It is the student’s responsibility to check with the Financial Aid Office about how enrollment in graduate course work may impact financial aid eligibility.

The Graduate School will consider applications from Missouri Western undergraduates for early acceptance into the graduate programs listed below.

  • Master of Applied Science, Chemistry
  • Master of Applied Science, Forensic Investigation
  • Master of Science in Nursing, Health Care Leadership
  • Master of Science in Nursing, Nurse Educator

Processes and required paperwork for acceptance into an accelerated program can be found in the Graduate Office or in the relevant academic department housing the graduate degree.