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Degrees Offered

Click here to see a listing of the specific degrees that are available at UC Merced.

New students are assigned a faculty advisor and committee to assist in developing a curriculum to meet degree requirements. Although considerable flexibility exists, requirements usually include a core of required material that a student must master.

Master of Science (M.S.) and Master of Arts (M.A..)

Plan I (Thesis):

  • Completion of a thesis
  • A minimum of 24 semester units in approved courses, at least 20 of which much be earned in 200-series graduate-level courses exclusive of credit given for thesis research and preparation.
  • A general examination is also required.

Plan II (Comprehensive Examination):

  • A comprehensive examination administered by the faculty
  • A minimum of 24 semester units approved courses, at least 20 of which must be from graduate-level courses in the 200 series. 

At least two semesters of academic residence at UC Merced is required for all master's degrees.

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)

Designed to prepare students for creative activity and original research, a doctoral degree is awarded in recognition of a student's knowledge of a broad field of learning and for distinguished accomplishment in that field through an original contribution of significant knowledge. There are no university unit requirements for the degree, though individual programs may set specific course requirements. Candidacy for a Ph.D. from UC Merced requires:

  • Successfully complete the Qualifying Exam
  • Maintain a minimum grade-point average of 3.0
  • Receive incomplete grades in no more than two courses
  • Fulfill any language requirement associated with the program

At least four semesters of academic residence at UC Merced is required for all doctoral degrees.