Graduate-to-graduate combined degrees

Various combined-degree options are available allowing students to earn a graduate degree in planning and another graduate degree in less time than would be required to obtain the two degrees independently. Courses for one degree are considered as elective credit for the other degree program.

Combined graduate-to-graduate degree options with planning are open to students in any graduate area of study at the University of Iowa even when an established combined degree program does not exist. The following formalized combined degree option has been established:

Additional popular options include:

  • Law
  • Social Work
  • Public Health


While the requirements of each graduate-to-graduate degree vary, all have several key features in common. In each case a student must:

  • Complete an approved area of concentration in planning. Work in the other academic unit does not, in and of itself, necessarily constitute a valid area of concentration (e.g., "law" is not a concentration, although an environmental law course may be part of an environmental concentration).
  • Courses in other programs can sometimes be substituted for planning core courses. Students should contact the SPPA director or admissions coordinator to discuss a plan of study and the specific number of semester hours of planning courses that will count towards the combined degree.
  • Unless otherwise specified, Sustainable Communities Lab is required of students in combined degree programs.
  • Satisfy planning's final examination requirement

Graduate-to-graduate options with other disciplines

University policy requires that prior administrative approval be granted, and a minimum of 60 semester hours of graduate credit be completed to receive two master's degrees. However, courses taken to satisfy one unit's requirements also may be applied to meet the other unit's requirements. Some credits can be shared when one master’s degree requires, or both master’s degrees require, more than 30 semester hours of graduate credit. (No more than ¼ of the credits necessary for one degree may be composed of coursework taken for the other degree.) In all cases, combined degree programs require at least 60 semester hours of graduate credit and each unit's degree requirements must be met. See the Graduate College Manual, section X. G.

Admission to combined degree programs

Separate applications for admission to planning and to the other academic unit are required. When applying to each unit, please indicate on the Graduate College Application that you are applying for a combined degree program with planning and the other unit.

Tuition for combined degree programs

As a member of a graduate-to-graduate degree program, students may pay the greater of the two programs' tuition costs. Students are encouraged to consult the Graduate College to determine the tuition amount.