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General Information

Section 6.1 of the Graduate School Handbook

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 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 (e.g., a Patrick S. Osmer Fellowship) and a master’s degree is not an approved degree pathway.