Degree Options Through UNITE

Degree Programs

Coursework leading to master’s degrees is 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 a graduate degree. 

Students may complete a master's degree through UNITE course offerings in Electrical and Computer Engineering or may combine UNITE offerings with on-campus offerings toward a degree in a number of programs, primarily College of Science and Engineering programs.  

Note that UNITE carries many of the 5000-level graduate courses and a few, select 8000-level courses in Electrical and Computer Engineering, but not all courses.  Students work closely with a program advisor in their 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 
  • Plan C (Coursework Projects) program option which involves a minimum number of graduate level coursework credits and coursework projects (most common plan pursued by those who complete courses entirely through UNITE)

M.S. program options vary by department.  

For complete information about the M.S. in Electrical and Computer Engineering, consult the Electrical and Computer Engineering Graduate Programs site.

To enroll into a UNITE section of a course as someone already accepted into a University of Minnesota graduate program, follow these steps.

Non-Degree Options

Non-Degree Graduate Credit

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 will register as Non-Degree Graduate status for courses to be used for a graduate program later. 

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 program;

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.S., M.C.S., or Ph.D.);
  • 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;


  • Students cannot be active or enrolled in any other program, whether graduate or undergraduate, at the University;
  • 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 academic program graduate program advisors to confirm the number of credits allowed as transfer credits by the University of Minnesota Graduate School;

To enroll into a UNITE section of a course with Non-Degree Graduate status, follow the steps For Students Who WILL BE Accepted into a Graduate Program at the University of Minnesota on the Graduate Credit Enrollment Through UNITE page.

Non-Degree Undergraduate Credit

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 enroll as a Guest of the University of Minnesota

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.

To enroll into a UNITE section of a course as a Guest of the University, follow the steps.