Section 6 Includes:
- Introduction 6.0
- General Information 6.1
- Master's Examination 6.2
- Results of the Master's Examination 6.3
- Thesis 6.4
- Application to Graduate, Master's 6.5
- Summary of Master's Degree Graduation Requirements 6.6
- Tagged or Professional Master’s Degree 6.7
- Specialist in Education 6.8
Introduction - 6.0
Master’s degrees give students the opportunity to gain additional knowledge and necessary skills in a field in order to engage in research and other scholarly activities, to teach, and to become practitioners. Master’s degree programs consist of a coherent pattern of courses and other educational experiences, a master’s examination, and, in many cases, a thesis or an equivalent demonstration of scholarly work.
General Information - 6.1
Program of Study. Each student selects a program of study in consultation with an advisor. The program must include a reasonable concentration in a single area or in related academic areas, must be approved by the advisor, and must be within the rules of the Graduate Studies Committee.
Master’s Degrees. The Graduate School currently oversees over 130 master’s degree programs, including Master of Arts and Master of Science degrees. The Graduate School also oversees professional master’s degree programs, which train students in advanced study with a practical application in their field upon receipt of degree. Please see the Office of Graduate and Professional Admissions’ website for a complete list of all master’s degrees offered at the university.
Foreign Language Requirement. The Graduate School has no foreign language requirement for master’s degrees; however, knowledge of one or more foreign languages may be required by the Graduate Studies Committee of specific programs. Students who wish to acquire a reading knowledge of French, German, Latin, Russian, or Spanish may take special courses offered by language departments. Completion of these courses fulfills the language requirement in many graduate degree programs.
Students are advised to take language courses as soon as possible in the program of study. Placement examinations are given by the language departments to assist students in choosing an effective procedure for meeting language requirements.
Credit Hours and Residency Requirement. A minimum of 30 graduate credit hours is required to earn a master’s degree. Eighty percent of the credit hours required for the awarding of the degree must be new credits and must be completed at this university over a period of at least two semesters. A student must be registered for at least three graduate credit hours the autumn or spring semester or summer term in which graduation is expected.
Time Limit. Each Graduate Studies Committee may establish time limits for the completion of its master’s degree programs.
Former students who have not registered in the Graduate School within the preceding two full calendar years require approval from the Graduate Studies Committee to reenroll. If the petition is approved, the Graduate Studies Committee notifies the Graduate School, which then enables reenrollment.
Thesis and Non-thesis. There are two program plans for students pursuing Master of Arts or Master of Science degrees: Thesis and Non-thesis. Students may pursue either plan, subject to the rules of the Graduate Studies Committee.
Earning Master’s Degree on the Basis of Candidacy Examination. A student may earn a master’s degree on the basis of satisfactorily completing the doctoral candidacy examination in the same graduate program under the following conditions: it is recommended by the student’s advisor and the Graduate Studies Committee; the student does not already hold an equivalent master’s degree in the same field; the student submits the Application to Graduate form by the published deadline; graduation deadlines established by the Graduate School are met; and candidacy for the doctorate has not expired. Individual programs of study should specify in their program-specific handbooks if they support earning a Master’s degree on the basis of the Candidacy Examination. Admittance into a PhD program with the sole intent to obtain a Graduate School fellowship of any kind and a master’s degree is not an approved degree pathway.
Master's Examination - 6.2
The master’s examination is a test of the student’s knowledge of the field. It is the final validation of performance for that degree. The master’s examination is taken after submitting the Application to Graduate on GRADFORMS and during the autumn or spring semester or summer term in which the student plans to graduate. A student must be registered for at least three graduate credit hours during the autumn or spring semester or summer term this examination is taken.
Thesis. The master’s examination for a student pursuing the thesis option must include a written portion (thesis) and an oral portion.
Non-Thesis. The master’s examination for a student pursuing the non-thesis option must include a written portion and may include an oral portion. The written portion may be a substantial paper, project or examination appropriate to the discipline, demonstrative of scholarly work and consistent with best practices in the field.
Oral Examination. Students must coordinate with their advisor and examination committee to determine a mutually acceptable date and time for the oral exam. Exams must take place during announced university business hours, Monday through Friday. Exams may be held on the Ohio State University campus or via video conference, dependent upon unanimous agreement by the student and committee.
Master’s Examination Committee. The master’s examination is administered under the auspices of the Graduate Studies Committee. The responsibility for the examination rests with the student’s master’s examination committee. The master’s examination committee is composed of at least two graduate faculty members including the student’s advisor. Other graduate faculty members may participate in generating, administering, or scoring parts of the examination, but the master’s examination committee is finally responsible for the conduct and evaluation of the entire examination. The advisor of a master’s student must hold membership at the category M level or higher in the student’s graduate program. Non-Graduate Faculty members may be appointed as additional external members to the master’s examination committee by approval of the Graduate Studies Committee in the student’s home program and by petition to the Graduate School.
Attendance. If the master’s examination includes an oral portion, the advisor serves as chair. The student can be allowed to deliver a public presentation as part of the exam. The public presentation should be no longer than half an hour and the entire exam should be limited to less than 2 hours. Except when video conferencing is involved, all members of the master’s examination committee must be present during the entire examination and are expected to participate fully in questioning during the course of the examination and in the discussion and decision on the result. Others may attend the public presentation part of the examination, subject to the rules of the Graduate Studies Committee.
Video Conferencing. All master’s examinations involving video conferencing must adhere to the Graduate School’s guidelines for video conferencing (Appendix B).
Halting an Oral Examination in Progress. If for reasons of illness, fire, or other emergency, the committee members agree that it is necessary to halt the oral portion of the master’s examination, then the examination shall be rescheduled without prejudice to the student. If, however, the committee members unanimously decide that the examination has been sufficient to reach a decision to pass the student, then they shall consider the examination concluded and report the result to the Graduate School.
Results of the Master's Examination - 6.3
Only the master’s examination committee members are to be present for discussion of the student’s performance and the decision about the outcome. After discussion, the satisfactory/unsatisfactory decision is reached by means of a vote. Each examiner indicates judgment by posting their decision on the Report on Final Examination in GRADFORMS that should be submitted to the Graduate School within 24 hours of the examination’s completion, but no later than the posted deadline for the autumn or spring semester or summer term of graduation.
Satisfactory. The student is considered to have completed the master’s examination successfully only when the decision of the master’s examination committee is unanimously affirmative.
Unsatisfactory. If the examination is judged unsatisfactory, the master’s examination committee must decide whether the student will be permitted to take a second master’s examination in that graduate program and must record that decision on the Report on Final Examination.
Second Master’s Examination. If a second examination is held, the master’s examination committee must be the same as the original one, unless a substitution is approved by the Graduate School. A student who has failed the master’s examination twice in one graduate program is not permitted to take another master’s examination in that program.
Review. On written appeal by the student or a member of the master’s examination committee, the Graduate School reviews the master’s examination to ensure its conformity to Graduate School rules and to determine if it was conducted fairly and without prejudice to the student. The Graduate Council has established review procedures called “Graduate Student Grievance Review Guidelines” (Appendix D).
Thesis - 6.4
Document. A student pursuing the thesis option must submit a complete, written thesis document to the master’s examination committee. The thesis must conform to Graduate School format requirements as described in the “Document Preparation-Dissertations and Theses” section on the Graduate School website. The student is responsible for ensuring that the information contained within the thesis document is original, complete and does not include material that could be deemed as academic and/or research misconduct. The complete and defensible thesis document must be approved by the master’s examination committee before the student takes the examination, and the final thesis document must be approved by the master’s examination committee prior to uploading the final document to OhioLINK. Students are responsible for ensuring that their final document conforms to all applicable University digital accessibility policies.
Format Review. Master’s students pursuing the thesis option should submit a complete and defensible thesis draft to the Graduate School for an initial format review before submitting the final version to OhioLINK. It is recommended that the complete and defensible draft be submitted for review around the time of the student’s defense. Format reviews can be done remotely or in person. All reviews will require the student to upload a complete and defensible draft copy of the document as a PDF to email@example.com. In person format reviews are conducted on a walk-in basis during normal university business hours.
Approval. If the student satisfactorily completes the master’s examination and if the student presents an acceptable thesis, the master’s examination committee members indicate approval of the thesis by posting their decision on the Report on Final Document by the published deadline for the autumn or spring semester or summer term of graduation.
Restricted Material. Theses must not contain material that may never be allowed to be published. Students whose theses contain material that can be published but requires a delay in public disclosure can request to delay public disclosure on OhioLINK (Ohio Library and Information Network). Although the disclosure of a completed thesis may be delayed, the document’s title and abstract will still be available to the public via OhioLINK. Please contact the Graduate School’s Graduation Services for additional information.
Electronic Submission. The thesis must be submitted to and approved by the Graduate School by the published deadline for the autumn or spring semester or summer term of graduation. The final thesis must be submitted electronically as a PDF to OhioLINK. Approved documents submitted via OhioLINK will need to be accepted by the Graduate School by the close of business before the Report on Final Document will be processed. The students must allow adequate time, at least a day or two, before the deadline for approval between submitting their document to OhioLINK and final review/approval by the Graduate School.
Application to Graduate, Master's - 6.5
It is the dual responsibility of the Graduate Studies Committee and the Graduate School to review the student’s record and ensure that all degree requirements are complete at the end of the expected autumn or spring semester or summer term of graduation.
Application to Graduate. A student must submit an Application to Graduate on GRADFORMS no later than the third Friday of the semester (or third Friday of summer term) in which graduation is expected. The application is valid for that autumn or spring semester or summer term only. Submitting this application indicates that the student is expected to complete all degree requirements that autumn or spring semester or summer term. The form must be submitted by the student and approved by the advisor and the Graduate Studies Committee Chair. The degree plan the student is pursuing and the proposed master’s examination committee members must be listed on the application.
End of Semester or Summer Term. A student who does not meet published graduation deadlines but who does complete all degree requirements by the last business day prior to the first day of classes for the following autumn or spring semester or summer term may graduate the following autumn or spring semester or summer term without registering or paying fees.
Summary of Master's Degree Graduation Requirements - 6.6
- Submission of the Application to Graduate form to the Graduate School no later than the third Friday of the semester (or third Friday of summer term) in which graduation is expected.
- Registration for at least three graduate credit hours during the autumn or spring semester or summer term in which graduation is expected.
- Completion of a minimum of 30 graduate credit hours. Eighty percent of those required credit hours must be new credits and must be completed at this university over a period of at least two semesters.
- Cumulative grade-point average of at least 3.0.
- For thesis and non-thesis students: satisfactory completion of the master’s examination and committee approval of the Report on Final Examination by the published deadline for the autumn or spring semester or summer term of graduation.
- For thesis option students: committee approval of the Report on Final Document and electronic submission of the approved thesis to OhioLINK by the published deadline for the autumn or spring semester or summer term of graduation.
- Receipt of final grades in the Office of the University Registrar by the published deadline.
- Completion of the master’s degree requirements established by the Graduate Studies Committee.
Students are responsible for meeting all degree and graduation requirements by the requisite deadlines, as well as follow all existing policies and procedures. Failure to do so may prevent the student from graduating on time. See Appendix H.3 for more information.
Tagged or Professional Master’s Degree - 6.7
Professional master’s programs contain advanced graduate level coursework, a practice perspective to the learning, and variable levels of scholarly work. Typically more than 30 graduate credit hours are required to earn a professional master’s and these programs are ‘tagged’ with a distinguishing degree name. Tagged master's programs provide preparation for advanced training in practicing programs. Professional master’s degrees are frequently a terminal degree or can serve as training for a professional doctoral degree program.
Professional master’s can be thesis, non-thesis, capstone or course based. Capstone experiences such as a practicum (a supervised internship) or a culminating project (an independent project to develop skills and competencies) may be included as part of a professional master’s. A capstone experience is a multifaceted assignment that serves as a culminating academic and intellectual experience for students, typically during their final year of an academic program. The Summary of Master’s Degree Graduation Requirements (Section 6.6) pertains to the tagged masters’ programs. Please note that a master’s examination may not be required for the completion of a professional master’s degree. Interested parties should contact a professional master’s program of interest for more information.
Proposals for tagged or professional graduate degree programs should meet the guidelines specified by the Office of Academic Affairs. These titles, the programs of study, and the determinations of entry and exit (examination) requirements are made according to standards designed for academic degree purposes and must be approved by the Graduate School and undergo similar processes for all program approvals.
Specialist in Education - 6.8
The Specialist in Education, also referred to as Educational Specialist (EdS or SEd), is a post-master’s terminal professional degree offered by the graduate programs in Education: Teaching and Learning and Educational Studies. An EdS is a postgraduate degree unique to the field of education, which is considered more advanced than a master’s degree, but generally requires less coursework than a PhD or EdD. For professionals who already have a master’s degree, an EdS is a great way to reach the next level without the time or cost required for most doctoral degrees. They generally require between 30 and 65 graduate credit hours of coursework (depending on the specialty and school) and can often be completed in a little over a year (or up to two years) after earning the master’s degree. Most doctorate programs will accept some transfer credits from an educational specialist degree program if an individual decides he or she would like to pursue a doctoral degree. Thirty graduate hours earned in the completion of a master’s degree may be counted toward the completion of the EdS degree. Eighty percent of the remaining post-master’s hours required for the degree must be taken while enrolled as an EdS student at this university.
There are two EdS degrees here at OSU; one in Education: Teaching and Learning and the other in Educational Studies.
- Education: Teaching and Learning EdS - An educational specialist is a school-based educator with the depth of theoretical knowledge and wisdom of practice in a defined specialization to provide leadership within a school district, to help shape policy, to design and direct programs, to support and evaluate teaching and learning, to mentor early career educators, and to translate relevant research and theory into sound practice. Students focus their curriculum on one of eight specializations. Students complete a 30 hour master’s program prior to admission into the EdS and complete 38 additional post-master’s hours.
- Educational Studies EdS - The Educational Specialist (EdS) program in school psychology trains students to provide comprehensive psychological services in schools, particularly urban schools, within an ecological problem-solving framework. The majority of the graduates of the EdS school psychology program are employed by school districts as school psychologists. To complete the EdS degree, students are expected to maintain two years of full-time enrollment (hat may include summers) and to successfully complete one year of internship. All EdS students will obtain the Master of Arts degree after their first year (33 semester hours). The EdS degree must be at least 38 post-master’s semester hours, for a total of 71 semester hours. Successful completion of the internship is required to obtain licensure from the Ohio Department of Education.
The specific focus of the programs and requirements for admission vary, so consult the respective programs for additional information. The Summary of Master’s Degree Graduation Requirements (Section 6.6) generally pertains to EdS programs.