Degree Requirements (General): Master's Degrees

The nature of the master’s degree varies according to the subject and the discipline in which it is granted. It may be (1) a research degree, representing a step toward the doctorate, (2) a terminal degree meeting professional requirements, or (3) intellectual preparation for personal enrichment and public service. The requirements set forth in this section are in addition to those listed under general academic regulations.

To qualify for the graduate degree, a candidate must

  • Complete between 30 and 51 hours of graduate study depending upon the specific requirements of the program.
  • Complete a minimum residency of 24 credit hours of which no more than six credit hours can be earned through independent study.
  • Successfully complete the course of study as specified in the discipline requirements within a seven- year period.
  • Earn a cumulative grade point average of 3.0 or better in all courses submitted for the degree.
  • Complete a thesis or pass a comprehensive examination or capstone course as required by the discipline. In some disciplines a combination of the above may be required.

Particular programs may have other requirements. Refer to the specific program of interest.

Any changes to the degree requirements must have prior approval of the program director and the dean of the college or school supervising the program in which the student is majoring.

Completion of the Master’s Program

All candidates for the Master’s degree must complete one of the following: a comprehensive examination, a capstone course, or a thesis, as required by the discipline. In some disciplines a combination of the above may be required.

Comprehensive Examination

Candidates choosing the Comprehensive Examination option for Master’s degrees must pass a comprehensive examination in their major field within six months of completion of the course work for the degree. All students who take a comprehensive examination must register for it. A $10 examination fee may be required each time the examination is taken. The Comprehensive Examination may be attempted a maximum of three times at the discretion of the Committee. Comprehensive Examinations are usually identified by the number CE90 and do not carry credit hour credit. Consult the Program Advisor for individual discipline regulations.

Capstone Course

Capstone courses provide an integrative learning experience and synthesis of knowledge which combine theory and research in the discipline. The courses build upon previous coursework and include application of theory to practical issues in the field. Capstone courses are usually numbered 63CS. Enrollment requires approval by the student’s Academic Advisor.


Time Limit for Completion of Master’s Programs

After admission, all requirements for the master’s degree must be completed within seven (7) years. Students whose degrees are taken primarily through part-time study have the option of requesting an extension from the Director of Graduate Studies. Extensions beyond established time limits for such legitimate reasons as illness, injury, or hardship may also be granted by the Director of Graduate Studies. In such situations, the student and academic unit must demonstrate how the student will bring up-to-date the content knowledge from courses taken more than seven (7) years before the projected date of graduation.

Conferral of Degrees and Application for Graduation

All candidates for the master’s degree must complete a formal application for the degree, which must be filed in the Registrar’s Office. To avoid late fees, students must complete an Application for Graduation by the dates stated in the official Academic Calendar published each year by the Registrar. Degrees are conferred in December, May, and August. Commencement ceremonies are held in December and May.