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Program Information

The quality management graduate program functions to increase the students' understanding and experience with the principles, practices and management of quality and continuous improvement. The curriculum is based on the body of knowledge for the American Society for Quality's (ASQ) certified quality manager, certified quality engineer, and certified quality auditor.

A graduate certificate program is also available for those interested in obtaining quality skills without obtaining a degree. Coursework taken in the graduate quality management certificate program may be later applied to the master's in quality management degree. You may view and download the form of Program of Study (POS) for the Certificate option .

This program is tailored to the needs of busy professionals by offering the "anywhere, anytime" convenience of an online education. All coursework is completed online through our Canvas learning system. Find out more on our EMU-Online site.

Important References


There are core/required courses (15 credit hours):

  • QUAL 546 Total Quality Management
  • QUAL 548 Tools for Continuous Improvement
  • QUAL 551 Design of Experiments
  • QUAL 552 Quality Planning
  • QUAL 559 Cost of Quality

The core courses are normally offered once a year. Most students register for two courses for fall and winter semesters. Because summer term is shorter and the learning pace is more accelerated, students may take just one course in summer term. Please visit the Academic Catalog for individual course prerequisites.

Track/Option: Coursework Only or Research

If the coursework only option is selected, total 36 hours of course work to be distributed among required core courses and quality specialization courses. You may view and download the form of Program of Study (POS) for the coursework only option [PDF].

If the research option is selected, the master's program requires the completion of total 30 hours of course work to be distributed among required core courses and quality specialization courses, including QUAL 647 and 4–6 semester hours of research (development project or thesis). You may view and download the form of Program of Study (POS) for the research option [PDF].

Here is a student's viewpoint on the research option: "As someone who did not pursue the research option, I thought I would provide my commentary now in some retrospect. Initially, I came into the program with intention of completing the coursework requirements. This was primarily due to my aversion to writing papers, etc. However, over my time in the program, I've grown more comfortable with research through the smaller projects and papers that were requirements in essentially every course. Looking back now, I'm sure that I could have pursued the research option and delivered an exceptional product that would be beneficial to an organization and my own knowledge/practice. My point is, for someone who still has to face that decision, I might suggest the alternate path from myself so as to gain some practical use of the tools that were obtained from courses earlier in the program. Certainly, if you plan to continue on to an even higher degree, I would suggest the research option as you will very likely do a great deal of this type of work in the future." -- Cody Hughes (used with permission)

Development Project or Thesis of the Research Option?

Whether or not the research data is proprietary determines the primary difference between a development project and a thesis. Since most students are employed in the industry and conduct their research in conjunction with their job, they choose to complete a development project. A development project is equivalent to four graduate credits and exclusively under the jurisdiction of the quality management faculty.

A thesis, on the other hand, is archived in an international database and EMU's library, becoming public domain. A thesis is equivalent to six graduate credits but is under the jurisdiction of the quality management faculty and the Graduate School The Graduate School imposes additional requirements on the Documents and Forms page.

With sustained effort, a student could complete a development project or thesis in two consecutive semesters.

Other Program Options

You may be able to transfer up to six semester hours of appropriate graduate credit.

You may be able to take up to six credit hours of non-quality graduate courses. If you can demonstrate applicable professional experience, training or certification, you may negotiate alternative courses with your academic adviser to customize a program of studies.

For other courses and program information, visit our entry in the latest Academic Catalog.


All students, including out-of-state and international students, can take the online courses at in-state tuition rates. This perk will save you thousands of dollars over the course of your education. Visit the Student Business Services site for the details.

Some companies may be willing to provide tuition vouchers to help pay for coursework. Please speak with your employer's human resources department for more information.

You can also apply for a graduate assistantship to work on-campus. Graduate scholarships may also be available. Visit the Financial Aid site for the details.

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