M.A. Requirements

  • Completion of at least 30 semester hours of coursework, with a grade of "B" or above in each course approved for the program. This coursework should include at least 3 hours, and no more than 6-8 hours, of work in thesis development and at least 21 hours in courses intended principally for graduate students (numbered 500 or above). A maximum of six hours of graduate coursework may be transferred from another accredited institution. Courses may be repeated no more than once for a higher grade, and when this is done only the last grade received is counted toward the degree or in computation of grade point average. In some programs, when explicitly stated, the number of credits required may exceed 30. The grade requirements beyond the minimum 30 hours may be set by the graduate faculty of the department, but the overall GPA of a graduate student must be 3.0 or above to qualify for graduation with the master's degree.
  • Completion of a satisfactory master's thesis on a subject approved by the graduate faculty of the department. The approval of the thesis subject should be obtained no later than February 15 on calendar of the year in which the candidate expects to take the degree. The thesis must be submitted to the department chair on the date set by the faculty. At least three copies of the thesis must be submitted in final form at least two weeks before Commencement. These theses are the property of the University and are bound and filed in the Library.
  • Completion, at a passing level, of an oral examination, or both an oral and written exam, administered by the graduate faculty of the department.
  • Submission of an application for degree to the Office of the Registrar, not later than December 3 (or as announced by the Office of the Registrar) on calendar of the academic year in which the student expects to receive the degree.
  • Any additional requirements specific to the student's department. (These are listed in the descriptions of the individual M.A. programs.)


All requirements for the Master of Arts degree must be completed within seven years from the date of the student's first matriculation in graduate standing (or in conditional graduate standing). Progress toward the master's degree normally occurs in four main steps:

  1. Upon initial enrollment, the student develops a program of graduate studies with the approval of a major advisor.
  2. No later than the completion of one-half of the required credit hours for graduation, the student's total record is reviewed by the graduate faculty of the department. If the student's record meets graduate school requirements, the graduate faculty of the department admits the student to candidacy for the degree. The faculty's action permits the student to begin a research study for the M.A. thesis, under the direct supervision of a member of the graduate faculty of the department.
  3. When the student satisfactorily completes the M.A. thesis, the graduate faculty of the department administers an oral examination based on the thesis and the area of knowledge it covers. Guest examiners from outside the department may be invited by the department's graduate faculty to participate in administering the oral examination.
  4. If the student is successful in completing course work and the oral examination, the graduate faculty recommends to the Provost that the M.A. degree be conferred.


Continuation in the graduate program beyond the first semester of residence is dependent upon satisfactory progress toward graduation. Criteria that the student should meet include:

  1. Meeting any specified conditions that may have been imposed at the time of admission
  2. Maintenance of a 3.0 cumulative grade point average in courses taken for credit toward graduation

If, at the end of a semester, a graduate student's cumulative GPA is below 3.0, the student is placed on academic probation. A graduate student on probation is expected to raise the cumulative GPA to 3.0 within one semester thereafter. Graduate students remaining on academic probation for two successive semesters become ineligible for any further University support and may be dismissed from the University at the discretion of the Graduate Council, in consultation with the graduate faculty of the department. A student may be allowed to continue on a semester-by-semester basis, if recommended by the graduate faculty of the department and approved by the Graduate Council in consultation with the Provost.


Dismissal of graduate students is accomplished by written notification to the student from the chair of the appropriate graduate department. Students have the right to appeal a decision of dismissal. A letter should be written to the Director of Graduate Studies stating reasons why the decision should be reversed.

An ad hoc appeals committee will be convened within five working days upon receipt of such a letter, consisting of representatives of the department involved (up to two persons), a member of the graduate council in an unrelated field, the Director of Graduate Studies. This committee will make a recommendation to the Provost of an action upholding or reversing the decision. The Provost will formally review the decision and notify the student within five working days.

Re-admission following dismissal for poor scholarship is granted rarely; it requires the strong recommendation of the graduate faculty of the appropriate department, with approval of the Graduate Council. A period of at least one semester is required between the dismissal and application for re-admission.


Withdrawal in good standing from graduate studies requires the student to file the normal withdrawal papers, obtainable from the Office of Student Affairs. A student who withdraws in good academic, financial, and disciplinary standing with the University is normally permitted to re-enroll upon approval of a standard application for re-admission. Absence for more than two years, however, may require the student to prepare a new study plan meeting new requirements as amended since the student's initial matriculation.

Grade of Incomplete

The grade of "I" (Incomplete) is given when the student has substantially and satisfactorily completed the work in a class, but cannot complete rendering requirements without the semester. The student must have achieved an average of "C" or better in work completed for the course and is responsible for assuring that both student and instructor have a clear understanding of the requirements for completion of the "I" grade. The "I" grade must be removed prior to graduation.

Pass - Fail

Pass-fail registration for graduate students is permitted under certain circumstances, outside the student’s area of concentration. Applicable conditions are:

  1. Students may take graduate courses on a pass-fail basis only outside of the major field of study. Such courses are not considered in computing grade point averages, nor are they counted toward hours necessary for graduation. A "pass" grade in such a course indicates work equivalent at least to a letter grade of "C".
  2. Graduate students may take non-required undergraduate courses outside the major field on a pass-fail basis. These courses are not considered in computing grade point average, nor are they counted toward the total hours necessary for graduation. A "pass" grade in such a course indicates work equivalent at least to a letter grade of "C".
  3. No more than one course per semester may be taken on a pass-fail basis.
  4. At the time of registration, the student must indicate any course to be taken on a pass-fail basis.
  5. Students entering courses on a pass-fail basis are held to the same standards of achievement as other students. They are expected to meet recitations, tests, papers, and examinations.
  6. The Registrar sends each instructor, at the beginning of the semester, a list of students registered on a pass-fail basis in that instructor's classes.
  7. No student, once registered for pass-fail evaluation in a given course, may subsequently change registration to a letter-grade basis; nor may a student once registered for a letter grade subsequently elect the pass-fail option.