Master of Arts and Master of Science
The Master of Arts and Master of Science degrees are designed to provide advanced study in a specific field of study. Degrees are offered with a thesis and/or a non-thesis option.
Students should refer to the section of this catalog titled "Departmental Programs" for the admission, degree, examination, and course requirements unique to each department.
A minimum of 30 semester credits is required in a program of study for the M.A. or M.S. degree in a major field. This includes the credits granted for the independent study, scholarly project, or thesis and the research leading to the thesis. Independent study and scholarly projects are 2 credits and will use course numbers 997 ro 995. The thesis must be 4-9 credits and will use the course number 998.
At least one-half of the credits must be at or above the 500-level. The program may include just the major, the major and a minor, or the major and a cognate area. The major must include 20 credits from the major department, and a minor area must include at least nine credits. A cognate must include at least 6 credits.
Students should contact the program or the School of Graduate Studies for current residency requirements.
Candidacy for the Degree
Admission of a student to the School of Graduate Studies as a Degree Student in Approved status implies only that the student has met the minimal entrance requirements and will be permitted to take graduate courses which normally will lead to a degree. The student has not been admitted as a candidate for a degree. Advancement to candidacy is a formal procedure and can be granted only after the student has met certain academic requirements. To become a candidate for the Master of Arts or Master of Science, the following requirements must be met in approximately the following sequence:
- The appointment of a Faculty Advisory Committee (thesis) or a permanent advisor (non-thesis). The Faculty Advisory Committee is appointed by the dean upon the recommendation of the chairperson, or designate, of the student’s major department and normally will consist of three members, but may consist of four. The form for Committee appointments is available on the School of Graduate Studies website. If the student intends to include a minor on the program of study, one committee member must be chosen to represent the minor field. The chairperson of the Committee normally must be a Full Member of the Graduate Faculty but may be an Associate Member under certain conditions The chairperson must represent the student’s area of interest, and must serve as the thesis advisor. The Advisor and Committee are responsible to the program and to the School of Graduate Studies for the supervision of the student's work, including program advisement, thesis advisement, and examination of the student.
- Approval of a Program of Study. Students must submit a Program of Study for School of Graduate Studies approval. The program of study should be developed in consultation with the advisor or committee and should be completed early in the second semester of enrollment. After the program has been signed by the student and the Advisor and/or Committee, it is submitted to the School of Graduate Studies for the approval of the Dean.
- Approval of a Topic Proposal. A proposal the final thesis or non-thesis project must be submitted to the student’s advisor/advisory committee and the Dean of the School of Graduate Studies for approval. The proposal is submitted on a form available on the School of Graduate Studies website. This proposal, when approved by the Faculty Advisory Committee and the Graduate Dean is deposited in the School of Graduate Studies and indicates acceptance of a topic for the final project.
When all of the above requirements have been met, the student will be advanced to candidacy. Students must complete all requirements for advancement to candidacy prior to the semester in which they plan to graduate.
The student must submit a thesis to the School of Graduate Studies as partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree. Credit will be given for the writing of the thesis and for the research completed and incorporated into the thesis. The amount of credit may vary from four to nine credits and will be determined by the major department. The thesis, prepared under the guidance of the student’s faculty advisor, must show sound method and demonstrate scholarship.
The topic for a thesis must be approved by the student’s Faculty Advisory Committee. Approval is effected by the student’s completing a form entitled “Topic Proposal” available with instructions from the School of Graduate Studies, then submitting the proposal to the Advisory Committee and the Dean of the School of Graduate Studies for its approval. The approved proposal is then filed in the School of Graduate Studies to become part of the record. The proposal must be approved no later than the semester prior to the semester in which the student expects to graduate, and must be filed in the School of Graduate Studies before a student is advanced to candidacy for a master’s degree. Proposals requiring IRB submission and approval must be submitted before any substantial research is completed to ensure compliance in data collection.
A thesis is prepared with the guidance and advice of the student’s faculty advisor and the Committee. The student and his/her committee are jointly responsibly for seeing to it that the thesis follows a correct form of scholarly style and usage. The student can follow the guides outlined in the Style Guide available on the School of Graduate Studies website or may follow the style specified by their committee or department as long as the style is consistent throughout the paper.
A preliminary draft of the thesis must be presented to the Advisory Committee sufficiently in advance of the preliminary approval deadline that the Advisory Committee may thoroughly evaluate and correct the thesis. After the necessary corrections and changes have been made, the student should secure the committee members’ signatures on a form entitled Preliminary Approval and Notice of Defense, available on the School of Graduate Studies’ website, and file this form in the School of Graduate Studies. The Preliminary Approval, which indicates to the student that no major changes will be required in the final copy of the thesis, must be in the School of Graduate Studies no later than the deadline specified in the Academic Calendar, or the student will not be permitted to graduate that semester.
Submission of Final Thesis
Copies of the thesis in its final form must be prepared and presented to the student’s Faculty Advisory Committee in time that they may thoroughly read the thesis prior to the final examination. When the final version of the thesis has been approved by the Committee, it must be submitted electronically to ProQuest for publication and receive the signed approval of the Dean of the School of Graduate Studies by the deadline announced in the Academic Calendar (usually two weeks prior to commencement). The final copy of the thesis will be printed and bound by ProQuest and cataloged in the University Library. The student must submit one copy to the major department and one to the advisor.
Students are required to present themselves for a final examination before their full Faculty Advisory Committee. The examination will be written and/or oral and will include defense of the thesis, but also may include examination over the course of study for the degree. The Preliminary Approval and Notice of Defense form, found on the School of Graduate Studies Web page, must be completed and submitted to the School of Graduate Studies no later than two weeks prior to the final examination. The results must be reported to the School of Graduate Studies, on the Final Report on Candidate form, by the deadline specified in the Academic Calendar. The Committee members must have had an opportunity to examine the final copy of the thesis prior to the examination and will indicate their approval by signing the approval page of the thesis. Final examinations which are failed may be repeated only with the prior approval of the Advisory Committee and the Dean of the School of Graduate Studies.
Departments may offer a coursework-only option or a non-thesis final project option in the form of an independent study or scholarly project. Students should refer to the section of this catalog titled "Departmental Programs" to see what options are available for their program.
Some departments may allow students to complete the Master of Art or Master of Science degree without a thesis or non-thesis project. The student will complete the degree by meeting the course requirement of 30 credits, including at least 15 credits at the 500 level. All major department courses must be at the 400 level or above and approved for graduate credit.
Independent Study or Scholarly Project
The independent study or scholarly project is designed to require the student independently to investigate a topic related to the major field of study. The study need not be an original contribution to knowledge but may be a presentation, analysis, and discussion of information and ideas already in the literature of the field. The requirement is to ensure that a student can investigate a topic and organize a scholarly report on the investigation. Independent studies are single author works; scholarly projects may be team projects.
The topic for an independent study or scholarly project must be approved by the student’s advisor. Approval is effected by the student’s completing a form entitled Topic Proposal, available on the School of Graduate Studies website, then submitting the proposal to the advisor and Dean of the School of Graduate Studies for approval. The proposal, which must be approved no later than the semester prior to the one in which the student expects to graduate, must be filed in the School of Graduate Studies to become part of the record before a student is advanced to candidacy for a master’s degree.
Departments will have different requirements on how many copies and in what format the copies should be submitted. The final project must be accepted by the advisor who will certify completion by submission of the Final Report on Candidate to the School of Graduate Studies by the deadline specified in the Academic Calendar and submit a grade for 997-Independent Study or 995-Scholarly Project to the Office of the Registrar.
Those advanced to candidacy for non-thesis master’s degrees must pass an oral or written final comprehensive examinations covering the major field but may, at the advisor’s discretion, draw upon or cover the supporting areas. Such examinations generally will be given and evaluated by the major department. The results of the final examination will be certified to the School of Graduate Studies by the advisor and the Department Chairperson on the form entitled “Final Report on Candidate” by the deadline specified in the Academic Calendar. Comprehensive examinations which are failed may be repeated only once with the prior approval of the advisor, the department, and the Dean of the School of Graduate Studies, but in no event earlier than at the next regularly scheduled offering.