You are here

Back to Section 6

Master's Examination

Section 6.2 of the Graduate School Handbook

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.