Master’s Program

We urge you to take a look into earning a master’s degree with one of our programs. The minimum requirements for most master’s degrees can be satisfied in one academic year of two semesters or nine months. In practice, however, many students need three semesters or longer. Certain departments have special requirements. In addition, those who hold assistantships or fellowships, those who engage in time-consuming work off-campus, or those with scholastic deficiencies of any sort cannot meet all requirements in the minimum time. Also, research is unpredictable and frequently requires more time than anticipated.

Course Work

A student under the thesis option must earn a minimum of 30 semester hours, of which at least 21 semester hours must be in a major area of concentration. Depending on departmental requirements or the wishes of the student’s advisory committee, the remainder of the course work may be taken within the major field or in a separate but closely related area.

Residency Requirement

A master’s degree student under the thesis option must spend one semester, or a ten-week term, on campus as a full-time student. This requirement concerns academic residency only; it has nothing to do with residency for fee purposes.

There is no residency requirement for master’s degree students under the non-thesis option.

Summary of Procedures

  • Apply for admission by submitting application online at:
  • Apply for an assistantship, if pertinent, with the department involved.
  • Become familiar with requirements for the desired degree as outlined in this Bulletin.
  • Consult with departmental advisor and become oriented to departmental procedures.
  • Plan schedule of study for the first semester with advisor.
  • Establish an advisory committee through the department head or chair and departmental advisor; usually done during the first semester of course work.
  • Prepare a proposed Plan of Study in consultation with the advisory committee.
  • Submit a plan approved by the committee and department head to the Graduate School no later than the second semester.
  • Consult with advisor on approval for the thesis plan, if pertinent, and become familiar with the Guide To the Preparation and Submission of Theses and Dissertations, available in the University Bookstore and on the web.
  • Fulfill language requirements, if any.
  • Request graduation check in the Graduate School no later than the last day of the semester (graduation day) prior to the semester of graduation.
  • Notify the Graduate School of the intent to graduate no later than the fifteenth class day of the semester of graduation.
  • Prepare thesis manuscript, if pertinent.
  • Arrange for final oral examination with advisory committee.

Plan of Study

Early in the graduate program, each student should confer with the appropriate departmental advisor or major professor to select courses and discuss research interests. Then a plan of study should be prepared and submitted to the Graduate School. The Plan of Study form is available on the web at or in the Graduate School office. For full-time students, the Plan of Study must be submitted no later than the end of the first semester in Graduate School. For part-time students, the plan of study must be submitted before registration for the fourth course taken in Graduate School.

Notification of all changes must be provided before the beginning of the final semester. One to three changes may be made by using the simplified “Change in Existing Plan of Study Form” available at the Graduate School or on the web. Four or more changes require a new Plan of Study.

The student is responsible for carrying out the planned program and for asking the major professor to make necessary changes.

NO STUDENT will be permitted to graduate who fails to submit a Plan of Study to the Graduate School prior to the semester of expected graduation. Graduation day is the official last day of each semester and, therefore, is the deadline for submitting Plans of Study and graduate checks for graduation the following semester.