Academic Requirements

The following are the minimum requirements for all master’s degrees offered on campus. Individual programs may have additional requirements. Requirements for online graduate programs are identified in Section III of this

  • All students must complete a minimum of 30 graduate credits.
  • At least 21 credits must be earned in courses open only to graduate students (7000 level). These credits must be included in the student’s program planning form.
  • No more than 12 credits can be transferred into a master’s degree program.
  • Students must satisfy the writing requirement of their degree program, or complete additional approved course work (6 credits).
  • Students must also successfully complete either a written or an oral examination.
  • Graduate students must maintain a 3.00 grade point average.

Admission to Candidacy

Admission to candidacy is required of Master of Science in Education graduate students.

Before graduate students are admitted to candidacy, their graduate advisor must approve a program check to verify that the initial credits toward a master’s degree have been successfully completed. An approved program planning form is developed at this time to allow the student to complete a master’s degree. To be admitted to candidacy, the following must occur:

  • All deficiencies must be removed and all subject matter prerequisites in the program area must be met.
  • The applicant must have at least a 3.00 overall grade point average on all graduate work completed.
  • The applicant must submit a projected plan of course work that will be pursued to complete the requirements for the degree.

At this time, the student and advisor complete an approved program planning form.

Policy on Candidacy

Graduate students who have earned at least nine graduate credits must begin the candidacy process and must have a departmental candidacy decision no later than the end of the next semester or session. For example, if a student successfully completes nine graduate credits in the fall semester, that student must begin candidacy procedures and have the candidacy process completed no later than the end of the spring semester. Students who are not enrolled in the semester following the completion of nine graduate credits must comply with the candidacy process before re-enrolling.

Candidacy Process

The School of Graduate Studies sends an admission to candidacy form to the advisor. The completed and signed admission to candidacy form, along with the approved program planning form (signed by the advisor), must be submitted to the School of Graduate Studies no later than 4 p.m. of the last day of the semester or session. The School of Graduate Studies notifies students that the admission of candidacy has been posted to their graduate record. The Graduate Council and the advisor are notified also.

Writing Requirement Options

Students must satisfy the writing requirement of their degree program as determined by individual programs subject to approval by the Graduate Council. Examples of experiences which may meet this requirement include: thesis, seminar paper, educational project, performance, and exhibition. Students should consult with individual program advisors for guidelines for meeting program requirements. All programs must follow a common set of procedures for approval and submission.

A more detailed discussion of three of these options follows.


While each graduate program is free to determine the specific nature of its examinations, it is the expectation of the Graduate Council that examinations qualifying students for the award of a master’s degree shall be of a comprehensive, integrative nature demonstrating mastery of the subject. Each student in an on-campus master’s degree is required to successfully complete either a written comprehensive examination during the last semester of enrollment or an oral examination defending his or her thesis. The oral examination is held after the student’s completed thesis has been approved by the thesis committee. During the last semester, the student must complete a comprehensive examination form, which is available online at the School of Graduate Studies website The completed and approved form is due in the School of Graduate Studies office by Oct. 1 for fall semesters, March 1 for spring semesters, and by the end of the first week of a summer session. Graduate students may not take a comprehensive examination until they have been admitted to candidacy, are in full standing, and have finished all course requirements or are currently registered for course work that will complete the requirements.

Written Comprehensive Examinations

The written comprehensive examination must be taken during the last semester of coursework needed for the degree. Students who wish to take the written comprehensive examination a semester early or a semester late must contact their advisors and obtain permission to do so. The advisor should forward the permission memo to the School of Graduate Studies stating when the comprehensive examination will be taken and the reason that the comprehensive examination will be taken early or late. The written comprehensive examination committee, which is approved by the advisor, shall prepare the examination questions.

Students must complete the written comprehensive examination form and receive approval from their advisor. The advisor will chair the comprehensive examination committee. If the advisor also provides comprehensive examination questions, only one additional faculty member will need to provide questions. If the advisor does not provide comprehensive examination questions, but only chairs the committee, the student will need two additional faculty members to provide comprehensive examination questions. Students must contact faculty members before submitting their names to be sure they are willing to provide comprehensive examination questions. The advisors for those students in the Computer Science program will also set up the examination date and note it on the comprehensive examination form. Students in the Master of Science in Education program write their comprehensive examination on the same day in the presence of a proctor.

Once the comprehensive examination form is completed and approved by the advisor, it should be returned to the School of Graduate Studies. The original form will be kept in the School of Graduate Studies office and a copy will be sent to the proctor (for Master of Science in Education students only). It is the proctor’s duty to notify the student when and where the examination will be held.

Evaluation of Written Comprehensive Examinations

Each faculty member who submitted questions will provide an evaluation of the student’s answers to the proctor/advisor. The proctor/advisor shall collect the examination and forward the results and recommendations to the director of the School of Graduate Studies or the director of the School of Education (for education programs) within one week following the examination date. In cases where the written performance is doubtful, the advisor may assemble the committee in an effort to decide upon the outcome of the comprehensive examination. Students will be notified of the results of their comprehensive examination either by the School of Education or the School of Graduate Studies Office.

Oral Examinations

Oral examinations are required of all students who choose the option of writing a thesis. In consultation with their thesis advisors, students shall arrange an examination date. The thesis committee shall conduct the oral examination, with the thesis advisor serving as chair.

Evaluation of Oral Examinations

The oral examination will be a defense of the student’s thesis. The thesis advisor will submit the committee’s evaluation, in writing, to the School of Graduate Studies. The director of the School of Graduate Studies shall inform students of their performances.

Retaking Examinations

Students who are unsuccessful in their oral or written comprehensive may retake the examination after one semester. Students will not be allowed to take comprehensive examinations a third time without recommendations from their advisors, their major departments, and approval of the Graduate Council.