Academic Definitions and Terminology

Degrees and awards

Roosevelt University currently offers various master's degree programs, doctoral programs, and certificate programs at the graduate level. Each specific degree offered in a college has its own unique requirements for completion. Students should refer to the requirements listed for their chosen academic program.

Master’s Degree

The U.S. Department of Education defines a master’s degree as requiring the successful completion of a graduate program of study of at least the full-time equivalent of one, but not more than two, academic years of work beyond the bachelor's degree. Master’s degrees at Roosevelt typically require the successful completion of between 33 and 39 credit hours. They include coursework taken at Roosevelt as well as any coursework accepted for transfer by the graduate program. Transfer credit is generally limited to 9 credit hours at the master’s level.

Master’s degree students must complete their degree requirements within six years of their admission.  Students may contact their program advisor or department chair if they wish to petition for a degree completion extension.

Doctoral Degree

The U.S. Department of Education defines a doctoral degree as one requiring advanced work beyond the master's level. After a period of study, the doctoral degree is awarded that typically equals at least six full-time equivalent academic years.  Completion of the doctorate requires successful completion of either a dissertation based on original research or an original project or in the case of Pharmacy, coursework required for professional practice. Specific requirements for Roosevelt’s doctoral degrees are detailed in the catalog sections for those programs.

Doctoral students should consult their program’s requirements for degree completion on the individual program pages in this catalog.

Certificates and Diplomas

Certificates and diplomas certify satisfactory completion of a post-secondary education program. All Roosevelt certificates meet the U.S. Department of Education's regulatory requirements, the Higher Learning Commission, and the Illinois Board of Higher Education.

  • Post-baccalaureate certificates require completion of an organized program of study beyond the bachelor's degree. They are designed for those who have completed a bachelor’s degree, but they do not meet a master's degree requirements.

  • Post-master’s certificates require completion of an organized program beyond the master's degree but do not meet academic degrees' requirements at the doctoral level.

Dual Degrees

A dual degree refers to a student completing the requirements of two distinct degree programs simultaneously. An example of a dual degree is: a student completing both a Master of Arts in Industrial-Organizational Psychology and a Master of Business Administration. Students in dual-degree programs must fulfill all requirements for both degrees as well as any prerequisite or other requirements associated with both/either degree. Typically this requires more credit hours than either degree alone.

Accelerated Bachelor’s + Master’s Programs

Accelerated Bachelor’s/Master’s degree programs involve an accelerated pathway from an undergraduate degree to a graduate degree. In these accelerated programs, up to 9 credit hours of identified courses taken in the senior year of the student’s undergraduate degree program can be applied to the graduate degree program. 

Other Definitions

Catalog Year 

A student's "catalog year" determines the degree requirements for that student, based on the catalog at that time. Typically, the catalog year is the academic year in which a student entered the university.

Any student may update their original catalog year to the current catalog year with their advisor's approval, using the Change of Program form. Students must work with their academic advisor to change their program of study. Students who change majors will have their catalog year updated to the current catalog year. Former degree-seeking students who have been away for three years or more must comply with the current catalog's degree requirements.


A concentration provides a thematic focus of study through 9 credit hours or more interrelated courses in a subject area.  Students pursuing a concentration must be enrolled in a degree program.  Concentrations are stated in the degree program sections of the Catalog.  Students should consult with their program advisors about requirements and procedures related to concentrations.

Grade Reports

Final grade reports are available to students in RU Access, the university’s online student records system; no grade reports are mailed. The grade report includes credit hours completed, quality points, and term, and cumulative grade point averages. Academic standing also is indicated on the grade report. However, grade reports are not official transcripts.

Phase-Out Programs

The university may decide to phase out certain programs at any time as conditions warrant. The university will work closely with students who are matriculating in a phase-out program to ensure that they can successfully complete a degree within an established timeline. Depending on a student’s enrollment status, progress toward completion, and availability of courses in the phase-out program, a program change may be necessary to complete a degree.

Shared Coursework 

  • Credits completed towards a certificate may be applied towards a degree program. 
  • For students completing an Accelerated Bachelor's/Master's degree program, up to 9 credit hours of identified courses taken in the senior year of the student’s undergraduate degree program can be applied to the graduate degree program.


The transcript is the official academic record for a student at Roosevelt University. Official transcripts are issued directly to institutions and employers. Students may also request a transcript marked “Issued to Student.” No transcript will be issued if the student owes the university money or has any other encumbrance. Information about the cost of transcripts and the procedure for ordering is available on the Transcripts website.